The huge ILVA steelworks in Taranto is in the midst of a huge storm and risks closure.
If the ILVA steel plant shuts down, Italy’s GDP could fall by 0.5%. An estimated 80,000 jobs in the area may go if the plant closes.
The ILVA tempest came about after 30 years of cover-ups tried to hide the fact that the huge complex was slowly but sure killing off those who lived around it came to light. Local residents had been screaming about the dangers of the plant for decades, but their voices were ignored.
Yesterday, seven arrests were made. Some were senior ILVA employees, others were local officials suspected of colluding with ILVA personnel to hide the damage the plant was doing. Even the owner of the plant is under investigation.
UPDATE 28 November, 2012:
- Italy’s government is considering passing legislation to save the ILVA steel plant from closure.
End of Update.
Cancer levels in the area around the plant left investigators little option but to seize a section of the complex, but despite this, a clean-up project was very slow in appearing. It sounded as if the owners of the ILVA plant were hoping public money would be used to bail them out. This may not happen and despite the huge loss of jobs, should not. As the investigators have pointed out, the right of the public to good health is greater that the right of a company to operate a business which is a proven threat to public health.
Today, 5,000 ILVA employees turned up for work only to discover they could not enter the complex. Unless something can be worked out very fast all 12,000 of the facilities’ employees risk losing their jobs. Not only this, but if the plant does shut down, the greed and dishonesty of the few may cause Italy’s GDP to fall by 0.5%. And right in the middle of a global economic crisis.
Italy’s environment minister is attempting to find a solution to the ILVA crisis and to save many thousands of jobs.
One fear is that the closure of ILVA made cause a domino effect as other ILVA plants close down as well as companies which supply ILVA. The number of jobs which may go could be enormous.
The ILVA steelworks situation is scandalous and illustrates just how lethal corruption can be and how corrupt Italy has become.
Will the ILVA affair finally cause Italy to learn its lesson? Knowing this nation, probably not. How many people will have to die and how many jobs will have to be lost before Italy realises that corruption literally kills.
Corruption also puts of foreign companies from investing in Italy.
Perhaps the only hope for ILVA now is a bid by Indian steel giant ArcelorMittal.