Each workplace death unacceptable-Mattarella on Labour Day

Every workplace accident death is unacceptable, President Sergio Mattarella said in a speech in Calabria marking Wednesday’s Labour Day holiday on Tuesday amid a spate of such deaths that has reaped over 125 lives so far this year, and around 1,000 last year.

“We cannot accept the continuous trickle of deaths, caused by carelessness, by recklessness, by risks that should not have been taken,” said the president on the spate that included seven workers killed in a hydro power plant blast near Bologna earlier this month.

“One thousand deaths at work in a year represents an unimaginable tragedy.

“Every one of these is unacceptable”.

Mattarella also appealed against the continuous exploitation of migrant workers by gang masters, mainly in the south of Italy where foreign farm labourers toil on starvation wages picking crops for unscrupulous organisations including the Mob.

He said: “In the agricultural supply chain, the issue of migration is of great importance.

“Migrant workers are an essential part of agricultural production and the subsequent processing of its products.

“But, in some cases, grey areas of labour – bordering on illegality, exploitation or even taking advantage of it – generate injustice and, in addition, insecurity, tensions, conflicts.”And they provide space for criminal organisations.

“Vigilance is, therefore, a precise duty.

“On the criminal forms of ‘caporalato’ (gangmastering).

“On the inhuman conditions in which, in some cases, seasonal workers are thrown, sometimes without name or identity”.

The Italian president also appealed not to worsen the north-south gap amid government plans for ‘differentiated autonomy’ that critics say would cause just that.

“The development of the Republic needs the revival of the Mezzogiorno,” said Mattarella.

“It is right to emphasise how a balanced and quality growth of the South of Italy ensures great benefit to the entire national territory.

“A separation of the roads between territories in the North and territories in the South would cause serious damage to one and the other,” he said to loud applause.