Martedì, 23 Ottobre 2018

Govt to fight ruling to halm production at ILVA plant


(ANSA) - Rome, August 13 - The Italian government said
Monday it will go all the way to the Constitutional Court to
challenge the latest judicial order that would block production
at the troubled ILVA steel plant in Taranto.
Justice Minister Paola Severino said that her office is
challenging new court measures that would block work at the ILVA
plant and remove as plant guardian the company's chairman, Bruno
At the weekend, a preliminary hearings judge issued a new
order countering rulings last week that would have kept the
plant, one of Europe's largest steel producers, operating while
it is upgraded to meet safety standards.
In a statement Severino said she hoped that "a solution to
the need to balance environmental needs with those of employment
and public health factors can and should be found.
"This is the path that the government intends to
Ferrante said the weekend decision threatened the jobs of
almost 12,000 people working at Europe's largest steel plant and
many others in the supply chain linked it.
He has previously said that ILVA will be forced to close
two other plants in northern Italy if the Taranto factory is
shut down.
The case has bounced between courts as prosecutors and some
local citizens have fought to close the plant while the
government and unions work to keep it open as it undergoes a
336-million euro cleanup.
In July a court had ordered the company to halt parts of
its operations, but last week, another court partially reversed
that order and named Ferrante as the administrator to oversee
the impounded portions of the plant during the cleanup.
Prosecutors say the plant has endangered workers and nearby
residents with fumes and dust particles since 1995.
All this had further heightened the controversy over the
future of the ILVA plant, pitting community members against
union workers fighting for their jobs in this southern city
which has been hit hard by the recession.
Both sides have been holding protest marches and other
actions, including a two-hour strike planned for Monday by
unions at the plant.
Other workers set up road blocks Monday morning on the
highway connecting Taranto to Brindisi, to highlight the
Last week, an opposing citizen's group in Taranto denounced
as a farce ILVA's plans to carry out health and safety upgrades
while continuing to operate.
"The plant is obsolete, and the company will never upgrade
it," said a spokesperson for the group.
Primier Mario Monti's government intends to fight the
judicial order closing the plant on the grounds that it has the
authority to set industrial policy in Italy, according to
Antonio Catricala, secretary to the prime minister.
"We will ask the Constitutional Court to see if it (the
ruling) has not crippled our power to set industrial policy,"
Catricala told Rai radio.
"We have established a decree in line with a precise
orientation of the court to continue the work which is not
harmful...and in the meantime, seriously begin work to clean up
the plant".
Last week, Labour Minister Elsa Fornero said she thought a
court order to keep the troubled ILVA steel plant operating was
"balanced" between the community's need for jobs and health
Last year, the ILVA plant produced 8.5 million tonnes of
steel, nearly 30%, of Italy's total steel production.

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