Wildcat strikes or unauthorised work stoppage citing unhealthy working conditions following the COVID-19 outbreak and deteriorating steel demand have prompted many Italian steelmakers, particularly in the country’s virus-afflicted Lombardy region, to suspend operations until at least March 22.
Local trade unions claim that the recent implementation of nationwide measures to prevent the spread of Covid-19 do not go far enough to protect industrial workers, who they feel have been disregarded by the government to keep manufacturing plants running.
General secretary of the Fiom-Cgil trade union, Francesca Re David, called for a temporary halt of work in metalworking factories on March 12 until social safety nets and contractual instruments would make it possible to sanitise, secure and reorganise working environments.
Unconfirmed reports suggest unscheduled strikes spawned at Fiat-Chrysler’s Pomigliano plant in Naples on March 10 and spread to Fincantieri’s shipbuilding operations in Liguria on March 12, while steelworkers at Ilva’s steelworks in Puglia are rumoured to have declared a 10-day strike.
More than five steelworks with a total combined annual steelmaking capacity exceeding 6mn mt, all within the Lombardy region, have suspended production, stopped loading and unloading of steel and raw materials shipments over the past few days.
Many of the idled Italian steelmakers have published statements through their respective websites notifying the suspension of operations, largely, from March 12 as a preventative measure adopted to protect the health and safety of employees.
Of the surveyed mills, Davis Index has confirmed that the following operations have been suspended until March 22 at the earliest:
San Zeno Naviglio, Brescia
980,000mt per year electric arc/lade furnace capacity
Two continuous casting lines for semi-finished long products
Feralpi Siderurgica (Feralpi Group)
Lonato del Garda, Brescia
1.2mn mt per year electric arc furnace capacity
Rebar, coiled rebar, wire rod
Acciaierie Sicilia (Alfa Acciai)
San Polo, Brescia
2.5mn mt per year (two) electric arc furnaces annual capacity
1.25mn mt per year of rebar and 800,000mt per year of wire rod
900,000mt per year electric arc furnace capacity
750,000mt per year of rebar and 150,000mt per year of wire rod at two plants
Dalmine, Bergamo & Arcore, Monza
650,000mt and 150,000mt per year capacity of seamless tubes