GEA refrigeration workers demonstrate outside the Bologna City Council building during a strike on 10 July.

GEA management concedes to talks after strike at Italian plant

12.07.2018

GEA management from Germany has agreed to attend talks with trade unions and local government officials in Italy over plans by the company to sell its oil and gas refrigeration division in Castel Maggiore. 

Workers at the plant, who are members of IndustriALL Global Union Italian affiliate, FIOM-CGIL, went on strike in protest at the proposed sale on 10 July. The union wants to safeguard jobs and production at GEA’s sizeable plant outside the northern city of Bologna. 

The union is furthermore concerned that a GEA food refrigeration business, also based at the Castel Maggiore factory, might be affected by the sale. 

During the four-hour work stoppage, union members demonstrated outside the Bologna City Council building, where discussions were taking place about the sale between local government, GEA management from Italy and trade union representatives. 

As a result of the strike action, the parties have agreed to another meeting on 17 July, that this time will include representation from GEA management in Germany, in order to write joint terms of reference on how the sale will take place and how employment can be maintained.

Stefano Maruca, Head of the International Department at FIOM-CGIL said: 

“This result has been achieved because of the struggles and mobilizations of GEA workers who went on strike and demonstrated outside the Bologna City Council, receiving great solidarity from workers at GEA Procomac in Sala Braganza, GEA Equipment in Parma and Ima Forni in Verona, to whom we give a big thank you.”

The refrigeration business in Castel Maggiore can trace its history back to 1898, which became known as Technofrigo in the 1970s. It became part of the GEA group in 1994.

Matthias Hartwich, IndustriALL director for Mechanical Engineering and Materials Industries, said: 

“Decisive action by GEA workers at Castel Maggiore is paying off. We support our Italian affiliate in their fight to save jobs and production at this important refrigeration factory which has a long history of employing people in the area.”

German multinational, GEA, is one of the largest suppliers for the food processing industry and a wide range of other industries that generated revenues of approximately EUR 4.6 billion in 2017.