Italy's ILVA to appeal ruling that stops steel production
BARI, Italy |
BARI, Italy Aug 11 (Reuters) - ILVA, Europe's biggest steel plant, said on Saturday that it would appeal a ruling by judge Patrizia Todisco saying the factory in Taranto, Italy, must not produce steel while it makes court-ordered improvements to its production line.
Prosecutors in Taranto originally ordered the factory's partial closure on July 26 because of concerns that pollution was harming the health of the workers and local residents.
On Friday, Todisco told ILVA that it could not continue production while the upgrades were made, judicial sources said.
Todisco clarified her Aug. 7 ruling that Bruno Ferrante, chairman of ILVA, had interpreted as saying the plant could remain operative as it completed health and safety upgrades, including work on the blast furnace where crude steel is produced.
Ferrante, who was named the court's administrator of the plant last week, said he would appeal the ruling, according to a statement.
The July order to shut down parts of the factory sparked protests among the 12,000 workers who feared for their jobs, and riled national union leaders. The order not to produce steel may again lead to heightened tensions.
The complete closure of the ILVA factory would be a severe blow to Taranto, a poor southern city which, like the rest of Italy, is mired in recession and faces double-digit unemployment.
Prosecutors sought to shutter the steel mill after a long inquiry said that dioxin and other chemicals pumped from the plant caused abnormal rates of cancer and respiratory and cardiovascular diseases in the southern Taranto area. (Reporting by Vincenzo Damiani in Bari; Writing by Steve Scherer in Rome; Editing by Jon Loades-Carter)
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