IndustriALL Italian affiliates FIM-CISL, FIOM-CGIL and UILM responded on 22 and 25 May with a series of joint protests against 480 layoffs announced by Whirlpool.
The protests included a general industrial strike of the sector on 22 May in the region of Caserta and a three-hour strike across the Indesit Group on 25 May.
The workers answered with protests to the announcement of layoffs made by Whirlpool in the group’s press release issued on 20 May. Through the release the company announced an additional 480 redundancies among administrative staff at Indesit factories in Fabriano, (200 jobs), Varese (200) and Milan (80).
The North American corporation, Whirlpool, acquired a majority of the shares of the Italian house appliance giant Indesit in July 2014. With the acquisition the company doubled its scale in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.
Since the acquisition and the consequent restructuring, the company made it clear that redundancies were inevitable.
However, the unions believe that the announced redundancies were unilaterally decided since the company earlier promised it would not proceed with redundancies until 2018. The layoffs will add up to 940 dismissals already earlier foreseen by Indesit itself and some 400 other jobs announced by Whirlpool on 16 April.
The total number according to the unions will reach 2,060 dismissals across Italy. This would represent one third of the company’s production workforce in Italy currently at 6,740 in total.
The decision of the company was a big shock for the Italian government who was involved in the negotiations, including Minister of Economic Development Federica Guidi, who was part of one month of fruitless negotiations. She called the communication of the company “an unspeakable plan”.
Following the organized strikes FIM-CISL, FIOM-CGIL and UILM announced a national demonstration planned in Varese on 12 June 2015.