Government likely to appoint special commissioner for ILVA

Solution for troubled steelworks plant being formulated

Government likely to appoint special commissioner for ILVA

Rome, May 30 - Premier Enrico Letta's government looks set to appoint a special commissioner for Taranto's troubled ILVA steelworks plant in attempt to salvage thousands of jobs and 40% of the country's steel production. "The solution could be a single special commissioner to either take over (the entire plant) or one to oversee cleanup operations," Industry Minister Flavio Zanonato said in a radio interview Thursday. ILVA has been at the centre of a political and legal battle since July when local magistrates ordered the partial closure of its Taranto plant due to serious health concerns. Saving ILVA, a plant that produces almost all of the country's steel for the automotive, shipping and domestic appliance industries, as well as provides jobs for around 20,000 workers, has become a priority for Letta's government. "Any solution is appropriate, seeing as this is an exceptional situation. But what counts is that the work get stared and production continues," CISL trade union leader Raffaele Bonanni. The company is also plagued by probes into the Riva family, whose holding controls the plant, for suspected of fraud against the State and fake money transfers. On Monday, government officials tried to reassure tens of thousands of workers at the troubled company that ILVA workers would be taken care of them after police seized 9.3 billion euros worth of assets belonging to the steel group's owners and Ilva's board of directors resigned en masse, including the company's chairman and its CEO "The government will not leave Ilva workers alone," declared Industry Ministry Undersecretary Claudio De Vincenti. De Vincenti added that "guaranteeing continuity in production (at ILVA plants) is in the national interest". National secretary for the Democratic Party (PD) Guglielmo Epifani - the main party on the left in Italy's left-right coalition government - also tried to assuage unions that Ilva's current chaos would not lead to plant shut down. ILVA's steel plant in the southern Italian city of Taranto "cannot be stopped, because if that plant is shut down, we will have a cascade of negative consequences for most of Italy's steel plants," said Epifani on Monday. The Taranto plant is the biggest in Europe, and the Riva group is the biggest iron and steel producer in Italy, the fourth-biggest in Europe and the 23rd-biggest in the world.

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