Genoa - The construction sector in the province of Alessandria is breathing a sigh of relief, despite its “dependence” on the start of construction on the Third Giovi Tunnel. The figures for the first semester of 2016, reported by the Cassa Edile [i.e. Special Construction Workers’ Fund], say it all. “Finally, after so many years of difficulties, the number of regular businesses with more than one employee in the province is increasing,” said Fillea CGIL Provincial Secretary Massimo Cogliandro, “from 896 companies in the first semester of 2015 to 921 regular companies in the first semester of 2016, a 2.9% increase compared to the same period one year earlier.” The number of workers is also increasing, from 4,727 in 2015 to 4,944 now. It is too early to speak of a true recovery, but based on the data, the trend has inverted, thanks, most importantly, to work relating to the high-speed train line: the companies that are working in the area are being asked to subscribe to the provincial Cassa Edile [i.e. Special Construction Workers’ Fund]. There have been 150 new subscriptions, for 217 more workers. This number, above all, does not take into account ancilliary figures, like administrative employees and foremen. But the increase in hours worked as reported by the companies is also “good”, according to Cogliandro: from 24,910,546 in the first semester of 2015 to 26,897,721 for the same period in 2016. Of interest: the number of women construction workers has also increased from 164, employed in the first semester of 2015, to 203 in the first semester of 2016. The number of foreigners also increased: from 1,788 in the first semester of last year, the figure is now 1,854, which is a 3.7% increase, the majority of them Romanian and Albanian. There are still reasons for serious concern: Cementir, which announced 25 redundancies at its Arquata Scrivia plant; and Itinera of Tortona, where 101 workers have been placed on mobility. Disputes are taking place within the governmental institutions of the Region and at the Ministry of Infrastructure.