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Whirlpool employees stage blockade

Worker protests continue in light of possible job cuts

(ANSA) - Caserta, April 20 - Four hundred workers of the Whirlpool-Indesit plant in Carinaro staged a warehouse blockade on Monday morning in continued protests over potential job cuts that could affect 1,350 employees.
    The warehouse, which is adjacent to the factory, serves as both a storage and distribution point for products produced for the American multinational in Carinaro, a town about a half hour north of Naples. UIL union said earlier that Whirlpool has warned that a deal with Indesit will result in 1,350 job cuts to come, including 1,200 factory jobs and 150 in research centres.
    Another group of workers on Monday morning blocked the entrance to a different warehouse that serves as a distribution point for products that also include other brands.
    Later on Monday, workers from the Carinaro plant staged a blockade of the Marcianise-Giugliano highway in a repeat of an action they took last Thursday. Monday's highway blockade caused law enforcement to close highway ramps, snarling traffic and creating long lines of stalled traffic.
    In last Thursday's blockade, workers desisted on Friday ahead of a scheduled meeting that day with Campania regional governor Stefano Caldoro.
    On Saturday, Caldoro met in Pompeii with Premier Matteo Renzi and labor union representatives for Whirlpool-Indesit, after which he said Renzi had given assurance of his "personal effort to make sure not even one job was lost," adding that 890 positions were at risk.
    Caldoro also said an initial meeting between the company and labor unions was scheduled for Monday, but later Monday afternoon those meetings caved in when labor union officials from three unions (Fim, Uilm, and Ugl) broke off the talks and asked for the government to intervene to prevent closure of the plants and job cuts.
    A fourth union, Fiom, quickly followed suit.
    "We suspended talks with the company after the other labor union representatives left, telling the company we wouldn't conduct talks without the others," said Michela Spera, the Fiom delegate for the talks with Whirlpool.
    Regarding the request for government intervention, Uilm labor union secretary Antonello Accurso said, "The company, very superficially, thought that we'd accept a plan that called only for closures and cuts".


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