Venerdì, 19 Ottobre 2018
TARANTO

Partial shutdown begins at ILVA steel plant

English
© ANSA

(ANSA) - Taranto, July 30 - The court-ordered shutdown of six
areas of the ILVA steel plant, Italy's largest, began on Monday
in the southern port city of Taranto.
A Taranto judge on Thursday ordered the shutdown of the
mineral park and smelting areas of the plant and put eight
managers and ex-managers, including the owner, Emilio Riva,
under house arrest, triggering the mobilization of thousands of
workers in Taranto and Genoa fearful for their jobs.
The steel plant and its managers are accused of
contaminating areas near the plant with toxic pink dust and
fumes, including dioxins and PCB's, that have been linked to
deaths and increased levels of some diseases since 1995.
Consumer organization Codacons filed a petition on Monday
at the Taranto courthouse against national and local health and
environmental authorities for their failure to take action over
the years.
Taranto steel workers returned to the ILVA steel plant
Saturday, after striking, blockading city entrance roads, and
occupying city hall on Friday.
The plant employs over 11,000 people.
A short-lived demonstration of workers from an ILVA plant
in Genoa, fearful that the Taranto stoppage would shut down
Genoa production as well, dissolved when the local prefect
assured union leaders that the judge's order might soon be
reversed.
The Taranto ILVA steel workers limited their action to
striking for two hours per shift, allowing the plant to function
and begin procedures for partial shutdown.
A delegation of a few dozen workers entered a Taranto city
council meeting Monday when, after four hours of debate, Taranto
mayor Stefano Ippazio pledged to set up a "control room" to
monitor the situation.
The city council approved a statement expressing solidarity
with steel workers and their families as well as for pollution
victims and their families.
A scheduled meeting between Lecce prosecutor Giuseppe
Vignola, who is involved in the criminal case against ILVA, and
ILVA business representatives was postponed due to "overlapping
commitments".
Considered strategic for the Italian steel industry and the
sectors related to it, Italian environmental minister Corrado
Clini vowed government support to keep the ILVA steel plant in
production on Friday.
"We want production to continue," Clini told Mediaset.
"The cabinet has confirmed its commitment by signing a
memorandum of understanding, and the government is working to
uphold it," Clini declared, referring to a government pledge
Thursday to allocate 336 million euros for an ILVA-related
environmental clean up.
On Sunday, the Taranto Catholic diocese announced a prayer
vigil on behalf of ILVA steel workers and their families, which
may take place Wednesday, when Taranto bishop Filippo Santoro
returns from a trip to Brazil.
New steel worker demonstrations are scheduled for August 2,
on the eve of the first hearing to re-examine the judge's
shutdown and arrest order.

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