Joint press release by the AdSP of the Ionian Sea and trade unions of 28.04.2023

news 28.04.2023

Joint press release by the AdSP of the Ionian Sea and trade unions of 28.04.2023

PORT OF TARANTO28 APRIL 2023 - The AdSP of the Ionian Sea, Port of Taranto, together with trade unions FILT CGIL, FITCISL and UILTRASPORTI as representatives of port workers, wish to make some important clarifications, following the latest episode of misinformation on the current events in the Port of Taranto.

In particular, in this case, we feel obliged to clarify information that is completely biased as well as fuelled by remarks and considerations aimed at generating confusion, where instead we are working hard to solve atavistic problems with initiatives that are highly innovative in terms of public value and transparency. Last but not least, we have for some time now been communicating events without cloying proclamations, precisely so as not to give rise to counter-information, which is detrimental to the truth and to the sacrifices of the many families of Taranto port workers and in the interest of an entire community that does not wish to be involved instrumentally for the interests of the few, who are very often far removed from our local reality.

Specifically, we would like to clarify that the Taranto Port Workers Agency (TPWA) was established on 8 September 2017 - pursuant to Art. 4 of Decree Law No 243 of 20 December 2016, as converted with amendments by Law No 18 of 27 February 2017 - with the purpose attributed to it by the aforementioned provision, of outplacement following retraining for workers made redundant by the then terminal operator pursuant to Art. 18 (of Law 84/94) TCT. The agency was extended to 7 March 2024, following the amendments by Law No 234 of 30 December 2021, and the same Law includes the amendment of paragraph 7 of Article 4, providing for the commitment of expenditure for the compensation for non-start of employment (IMA) for the years 2022 and 2023.

This is because workers registered with the agency during the outplacement period, for the days without starting work, receive the IMA, an allowance for failure to start employment, which is equivalent to the CIG wage supplementation treatment.

This legal instrument attributes to the workers enrolled in the TPWA lists, a social clause that is legally enforceable against any economic operators who request and obtain new authorisations to operate pursuant to Law 84/94 within the territorial jurisdiction of the AdSP of the Ionian Sea, which - in such cases - are obliged to give priority to those registered with the agency when hiring new workers.

TPWA also has the option of providing temporary extra labour to port companies and to ensure the necessary flexibility of port labour, which is indispensable to the smooth operation of all Italian ports.

Law 84/94 does not allow more than one agency supplying temporary labour to operate in the same port. Therefore, given that there is another existing operator ex Art.17 paragraph 2 of the port of Taranto, the request for labour to carry out port operations passes through this operator and, should it have insufficient personnel to cover with the demand for temporary port labour, it then refers to the TPWA.

The authorisation of the current operator under Article 17 was due to expire in April 2021, but it then obtained an extension of 24 months, by decree related to the COVID emergency, with new expiry in April 2023.

It is needless to emphasise the fact that, due to the increasingly limited operations of the Taranto steel plant, with the long pandemic emergency followed by the ongoing war in Ukraine, the resumption of maritime and port activities has encountered difficulties that have greatly slowed down the process of relocating the workers, as well as slowing down the establishment of new businesses that could have accelerated the 'emptying' of the TPWA lists.

In January 2023, of the 560 workers originally registered, the agency had 352 workers still registered, having in fact - and despite all the difficulties outlined above - facilitated and enabled the redeployment of more than 200 workers with high-level port-related skills.

Therefore, at this stage, it would have been absolutely inadmissible on the part of the Italian Ministry of Infrastructure and Transport (MIT) to request in April 2023 the transformation of the TPWA into an agency pursuant to Art. 17, paragraph 5, with 352 workers under its responsibility, all the more so because these would have been due the 'ordinary' IMA allowance, i.e. which draws funds from the MIT on a national basis and with a number of operators that is wholly disproportionate with respect to the immediate and contextual needs of the Port.

For this series of technicalities and in the exclusive interest of the workers in the Port and in Taranto, it was agreed to ask the MIT for authorisation to set up an agency under Art. 17 paragraph 5 headed by the AdSP and with the port operators under Art. 16 as partners and with shareholdings proportionate to the current standings, with the aim of continuing the supply of temporary labour after first relocating the 7 workers already working for the outgoing operator, all described and programmed in a specific three-year business plan.

This new agency will have the option, subject to a special trade union agreement, to hire the workers registered with the TPWA for labour requirements exceeding the available units, until its natural expiry.

In light of the above-mentioned deadlines, the validity of the TPWA and the existence of the relevant social clause, which has the same expiry as the funding of the IMA allowances currently scheduled for December 2023, dialogue with local and national politicians has already been launched in parallel with the above-mentioned initiative in order to obtain a final extension of at least 12 months, also guaranteeing a final extension of the relevant financing.

This additional time will be used for the operational start-up of the first eight business initiatives investing in the port - thanks to the constant and evidently effective promotion of (despite harmful counter-information) and the great work undertaken to establish the SEZ - and whose operational plans clearly show a need for employment that, together with the terminal operator, can easily absorb the workforce still belonging to the TPWA.

The above would, in the short term, effect the full and tangible implementation of Decree No 243 of 20 December 2016, which, to date, continues to serve as an effective active labour policy for employment generated in Italy.

This is the spirit behind the actions of the AdSP of the Ionian Sea, together with the trade unions, during the years of crisis and that has already achieved the first results for the territory and for the local people.

We firmly believe in and always advocate widest possible freedom of information, when it makes readers the free recipients of genuine and competently researched information.

We have always accepted all forms of criticism and confrontation, as long as they are based on the actual merit of the issues, on real documented facts, and not aimed at spreading information filled with inaccuracies and peppered with personal opinions, which is both senseless and serves no constructive purpose for our port and local community.

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