FIOM breaks ranks with unions and occupies Genoa’s Ilva Works

Genoa - The Genoese contingent of FIOM has decided to break ranks from the union position of abiding by the agreement signed in 2005, and has occupied the Cornigliano facility in Genoa.

di Gilda Ferrari

Genoa - The Genoese contingent of FIOM has decided to break ranks from the union position of abiding by the agreement signed in 2005, and has occupied the Cornigliano facility in Genoa. The decision was made during an assembly in which committees from the UILM and FILM CISL Unions voted no to further forms of action, with negotiations on job cuts and pay between the Government and AM Investco are resuming. The 2005 program agreement for the troubled steel mill stipulated that wages and employment levels (1650 jobs) would be guaranteed, even in the face of the plant’s hot rolling line ceasing operations. AM Investco, however, announced 600 layoffs at Cornigliano. FIOM’s position is clear: no separate fronts, a meeting with representatives from the Economic Development Ministry (MISE) needs to be convened as soon as possible, and, as Armando Palombo of the local Fiom chapter pointed out, “if there’s even one layoff, the program agreement, in regard to concession areas, needs to be revised in consultation with all concerned parties.”

The results so far: a facility under occupation, a red banner hanging in front of the plant entrance, Genoa’s west highway access ramp, one of the city’s main arteries, blocked for about two hours by demonstrators. A note issued by the MISE expressed “consternation” and “disbelief”, that FIOM CGIL should “go against agreements, promote the interruption of activities and call for picketing, while negotiations between all parties has finally been launched”, and emphasized that “just as an in-depth analysis of the business plan proposed by the investors is underway, examining each department separately, an initiative of this sort risks endangering the deal for the whole of Ilva”; a statement that Genoa’s FIOM CGIL sees as “a provocation”. “We have been asking for a meeting on the program agreement for weeks,” said the secretary of the Genoa-based CGIL Union of metalworkers, Bruno Manganaro, “and the failure to convene such a meeting can only be met with strike actions.” “The protests,” warns Manganaro, “will stop only when we get a firm date for a meeting at Genoa.” FIM and UILM unions, however, do not agree.

For UILM, the occupation of the Genoa plant was taken “without proper consultations”; for FILM it’s “the usual ploy by FIOM to come away with a clear conscience.” Still, however, negotiations are about to begin soon, following AM Investco’s decision to ‘put on ice’ the letter sent to the trade unions on October 6, which announced, among other things, the intention to cut workers’ salaries. Two dates have been already set: November 9 to talk about the business plan, and November 14 for the environmental one. But before that, on Wednesday, November 8, there is the anticipated meeting to discuss the Program Agreement with the Region, the Municipality and Port Authority, to which trade unions have not been invited. For this reason FIOM warns: no separate meetings. Liguria Governor Giovanni Toti, for whom the Program Agreement is a given, does not like the current division between trade unions: “I do not think that the trade union split will help in the Ilva dispute. What’s now needed is sensitivity and prudence on the part of all involved. We are at the beginning of a complex and long negotiation for which all Liguria is coming together in defence of the Program Agreement.” But FIOM will not give up and tomorrow will be another day of action.

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