Strike Threatened at Eni to Protest Refinery Closures

22.07.2014 -

Employees of almost all units of Italian olefins and polyolefins giant Eni have threatened to shut down all of the company's Italian production units as well as commercial, administrative and other offices in a one-day strike on July 29.

The strike is intended to protest recently broached plans to permanently close or convert some of the company's refineries.

Eni's new chairman, Claudio Descalzi, recently told the workforce of plastics subsidiary Versalis that potential closures or downsizing of the refinery sites at Gela, Taranto, Livorno, Porto Marghera and Priolo could cost up to 6,000 jobs.

On July 7-8, Italian trade unions held a two-day strike at Versalis to protest the delayed, or possibly canceled, restart of the cracker at Porto Marghera, near Venice.

News agencies said the escalating stand-off between Eni and the trade unions will likely cast a shadow over the unveiling of Descalzi's new strategy on July 31.

With the possible site closures, Versalis chief Daniele Ferrari's new strategy unveiled last year, outlining plans to invest in renewables and rejuvenate petrochemical activities at the same time, also appears in danger.

On the day of the Eni strike, unions across Italy plan to stage a nationwide demonstration in Rome.

Reports say worker protests are mounting at companies across Italy Italian in the face of record high unemployment levels.

If Eni fails to turn around its loss-making refining business, it could suffer a credit rating downgrade if it fails to turn it around, ratings agencies have warned.