Steel workers belonging to trade unions staged demonstrations in Rome on Tuesday, in a protest against steel giant ArcelorMittal's planned withdrawal from a 2017 agreement to take over the Ilva steel company, Italian media reportedMOSCOW (Pakistan Point News / Sputnik - 10th December, 2019) Steel workers belonging to trade unions staged demonstrations in Rome on Tuesday, in a protest against steel giant ArcelorMittal's planned withdrawal from a 2017 agreement to take over the Ilva steel company, Italian media reported.
Protesters were demonstrating against ArcelorMittal's proposed withdrawal from purchasing the Ilva steel group, initially signed in 2017. The Italian government has been long in negotiations with the Franco-Indian steel giant to salvage a deal, that includes saving production at Europe's largest steelworks, Taranto.
According to media reports, ArcelorMittal initially planned to close the Taranto plant on December 4, leading to 2,891 immediate redundancies and a further 1,809 job cuts by 2023. This deal was rejected by the trade unions, while Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte also vetoed the plans.
"We reject it and we will work on the objectives we have set with Mr Mittal and which Mr Mittal has personally pledged to me to reach, and we will succeed," Conte said on December 5, as quoted by the agency.
ArcelorMittal Italia CEO Lucia Morselli has stated publicly that the company is losing one billion Euros ($1.11 billion) annually. The Italian government has sought to continue to find a solution, which could potentially involve partial state ownership, media reported.
In 2017, European Parliament members conducted a fact-finding mission to Taranto, in which they identified high levels of pollution as a result of the Ilva plant's activities. Industrial dust was blamed for increasing levels of respiratory diseases and mortality, in particular lung cancer mortality, among the local population.