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GEA workers to strike over possible sale

ITALY: Workers at GEA Refrigeration’s oil and gas refrigeration business in Bologna have announced an eight-hour strike after the German parent company announced its possible sale.

According to the Italian metalworkers union, Fiom-Cgil, the 180 employees at the plant have called an eight-hour strike. The first, a four-hour stoppage, is tabled for July 10.

GEA confirmed that it was currently reviewing its portfolio. “Within this initiative, a part of the oil and gas activities, namely the oil and gas refrigeration project business of GEA’s Business Area Solutions located in Castel Maggiore, Italy, has been reviewed as well,” a company spokesman told the Cooling Post.

“As a result, this part of the business is not seen as a core activity of GEA going forward and GEA is reviewing a possible disposal.”

GEA says it is searching for an experienced buyer with a clear focus on such oil and gas activities, who is willing to invest into the business and work with its employees to develop its fullest potential.

The workers and union also expressed concern for the future of the “food” division, which shares the site, and whether this would be transferred to the company’s Parma factory in the event of a sale.

In response, the GEA spokesman said: “This decision does not in any way affect the refrigeration project and service business focused on the food and marine sectors.”

Gea Refrigeration Italy’s Castel Maggiore business can trace its history back to 1867. It started manufacturing refrigeration equipment in 1898 and became known as Technofrigo in the 70s. It joined the GEA group in 1994.

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