ITALY: A delegation of workers from Embraco will meet MEPs in Brussels tomorrow (Wednesday), as the closure of the Turin refrigeration compressor factory becomes a major election issue in Italy.
January’s announcement of the closure of the former Aspera factory in Riva di Chieri, near Turin, with the loss of 497 jobs, and the transfer of production to Embraco’s factory in Slovakia, has been met with strong opposition. Amongst widespread protests, workers have blocked roads in the Piedmont region and staged a protest at Italy’s annual Sanremo music festival.
On Wednesday, a delegation of workers are to visit the European Parliament in Brussels to meet Italian MEPs and the president of the European Parliament Antonio Tajani to present the demands of the workers.
The Embraco closure has been seized upon by Italian opposition parties in the run-up to the Italian general election on March 4. They have accused the Slovak government of making enticements to Embraco, describing this as illegal state aid.
On Tuesday of last week, the Italian minister for economic development Carlo Calenda met with EU commissioner for competition Margrethe Vestager in Brussels to discuss the issue.
Italian MEP Brando Benifei subsequently raised a question in the European Parliament, demanding that Embraco’s relocation to lower the cost of labour should be examined from the viewpoint of social dumping and possible state aid.
He asked the Commission to look into this case, to ensure that no tax relief or other practices have been applied by the Slovak Government. He also said that a policy based on relocation is unsustainable in the Union, in relation to necessary harmonious economic development, social and territorial cohesion and the protection of the rights of workers.