Sabato, 20 Ottobre 2018

Alcoa workers protest as minister throws cold water on deal


(ANSA) - Cagliari, September 5 - As Alcoa workers continued
to fight for their jobs, Italy's industry minister warned that
the chances of finding a buyer for their troubled aluminium
plant were not good.
Yet on Wednesday, the company most interested in acquiring
the Alcoa plant contradicted that claim.
Swiss commodities group Glencore said it needs a few more
days to evaluate a potential investment in the plant.
"We'll see in a few days," a Glencore manager said after
meeting with unions Wednesday morning.
One day earlier, Industry Minister Corrado Passera
expressed serious doubts in the plant's future.
It's important to face "the fact that this is a nearly
impossible situation with extremely little to interest possible
investors," Passera said Tuesday.
As he spoke, three workers at the Alcoa aluminium plant at
Portovesme on the Italian island of Sardinia climbed to the top
of a 70-metre silo and refused to come down despite wind and
rain early Wednesday morning.
One was reported to be in poor condition.
The workers are protesting the American aluminium giant's
plan to shut down the smelter, putting hundreds of jobs at risk.
High energy prices have been blamed as a key factor in the
shutdown, and Glencore is said to be driving a hard bargain,
including concessions on infrastructure and energy costs.
There's no reason the Italian government can't step in to
help smooth a takeover, especially given how hard high energy
costs are hitting businesses, said the leader of the Senate
Felice Belisario.
"Other European countries intervene to protect their
domestic industry," Belisario said Wednesday.
"(Yet) our government is only good for saying that it is
impossible to save Alcoa. The plant in Portovesme must not
The Italian government would be wise to help a new investor
deal with the smelter's energy expenditures, said Giorgio
Squinzi, the president of Italy's largest industrial employers'
confederation Confindustria.
The Alcoa plant can be saved "only if the requirements are
met to provide energy at competitive prices," he said Wednesday
in a television interview on Channel 5.
"If you want to, you can do it," said Squinzi, adding that
soaring energy costs are destroying other energy-intensive
Italy's cumbersome bureaucracy is also imposing a terrible
toll on businesses, large and small, added Squinzi.
Tuesday, union representatives met with political leaders
in Rome, and a major demonstration is planned for September 10
in the Italian capital, including workers, local administrators
and others whose businesses demand on the Alcoa plant.
Alcoa has promised to keep all workers at its Portovesme
plant employed through the end of the year.
Work to begin shutting down parts of the Alcoa plant has
been temporarily halted, pending further talks with Glencore.

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