ROME, July 29 Ninety percent of oil and gas
group Eni's Italian workers adhered to a strike call on
Tuesday to protest at the company's plans to close or convert
some of its unprofitable refineries, unions said.
Hundreds of refinery employees converged on Rome from
far-flung regions of the country to berate the government which
is Eni's principal shareholder with a 30 percent stake.
Italy's three major unions called last month for 30,000
Italian Eni staff to stop work for a day, shutting down
refineries, petrochemical and other activities, as well as
commercial, administrative and other offices.
Plant closures, especially in southern regions where
industry is weak, have become especially emotive in Italy with
unemployment climbing to record levels as the country struggles
to emerge from its worst post-war recession.
"This protest is not just about Eni and the refineries but
Italy's entire industrial future," union leader Luigi Angeletti
Protesters in front of Rome's chamber of deputies held
banners carried slogans attacking Italy's prime minister Matteo
Renzi and Eni chief executive Claudio Descalzi, accusing the two
of taking "food straight out of our mouths."
Industry sources say Descalzi, who took over at the head of
Italy's biggest listed company this year, is preparing to cut
Eni's loss-making business, like its Italian refineries, and
strengthen its push into more profitable oil and gas
Union bosses say Eni's plans to restructure its domestic
refining business, identified by Fitch earlier this month as a
risk to the company's credit rating, could lead to the loss of
up to 6,000 jobs.
(Reporting by Francesca Piscioneri, writing by Isla Binnie,
editing by William Hardy)