Taranto, January 17 - Trade unions representing Ilva workers are to meet with the management of the troubled southern Italian steelworks company Thursday after a group of laid-off employees protested in front of the plant headquarters on Thursday, trade union sources said. ''We need to know what the company is deciding, how it intends to operate, though at this point in time it is being evasive and not holding relations with the trade unions,'' said Luigi D'Isabella, Cgil trade union secretary general for the city of Taranto, earlier in the day. Ilva has been at the centre of legal and labour disputes since last July, when a Taranto court ordered a shutdown of the plant's smelting areas. Months later, the court also sequestered manufactured parts awaiting shipment. ILVA appealed the court's seizure orders on the basis of the government's decree, which permits plant operation at partial capacity while ILVA undertakes well-defined clean-up measures. When the Taranto court rejected ILVA's appeal in late November, the company declared imminent total shutdown of the plant, sparking strikes and protest at its facilities in Taranto and near Genoa. The issue was temporarily resolved after Environment Minister Corrado Clini introduced an amendment to the government decree designed to overturn the Taranto court ruling. The amended decree was overwhelmingly approved by parliament in December. The Council Chamber of the Constitutional Court must now decide whether the Taranto prosecutor's challenge is admissible. The Taranto prosecutor's office requested urgent review of the case, but the Constitutional Court is under no prescribed time constraints to do so.