Lunedì, 15 Ottobre 2018
TARANTO

Steelworkers paralyze Taranto over plant shutdown

English
© ANSA

(ANSA) - Taranto, July 27 - Angry steelworkers in the
southern Italian city of Taranto blockaded arterial roads and
occupied city hall Friday to protest the partial shutdown of
their employer, the ILVA steel plant.
Dozens streamed into city hall while others blockaded two
main access roads to Taranto, causing traffic jams and
disrupting local public transportation, leaving buses stuck or
unable to complete their routes.
The steel plant's main unions - UILM, FIOM and FIM - called
an indefinite strike, leaving just the few workers in command
posts to care for key facilities, and called for the
intervention of Premier Mario Monti.
On Thursday, Taranto judge Patrizia Todisco ordered the
shutdown of the mineral park and foundries of Italy's largest
steel plant, which press reports say provides roughly 30% of
Italy's steel needs and employs over 11,000 people.
The same order mandated the house arrest of eight managers
and ex-managers, including the owner Emilio Riva.
Todisco charged that the steel plant's toxic fumes and dust
have endangered the lives of people and animals in the area
since 1995.
"There is no doubt that those indicted were perfectly aware
that steel production activities unleashed harmful, toxic
substances (like dioxins) for human and animal health," but
"there has been no sign of repentance, since they continued to
poison the surrounding environment for years," wrote Todisco in
her arrest warrant and plant shut-down order.
The prosecution's epidemiological assessment found the
steel plant's pollution over 13 years caused 386 deaths, 237
malignant tumors, 247 hospitalizations for heart disease, and
937 hospitalizations for respiratory disease - 638 of which in
children.
Todisco added in her order that the steel plant also
tainted the food chain, polluting nearby goat and sheep
pastures.
The judge wrote that ILVA's emissions contaminated - with
dioxins and PCBs - 2,271 animals destined for food and indirect
consumption.
Lecce prosecutor Giuseppe Vignola told reporters in Taranto
Friday that there was no choice but to shut down the steel plant
given the gravity of the epidemiological assessment.
Environment Minister Corrado Clini vowed government support
to keep the steelworks in production on Friday.
"We want production to continue," Clini told Italian news
channel Tgcom24.
"The cabinet has confirmed its commitment by signing a
memorandum of understanding, and the government is working to
uphold it," Clini said, making reference to a government pledge
Thursday to allocate 336 million euros for ILVA-related
environmental clean-up and recovery.
The Taranto re-examination court will consider repealing
the plant shutdown and arrest orders. The first hearing is
scheduled for August 3.

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