*Translated by Sara Pasino
BIANDRONNO – The voice of the workers of Whirlpool and their union representatives, who for months have been asking for clarity, after the ambiguous announcements about the future. But also the workers of the surrounding businesses, who live thanks to the related industrial output generated by the multinational household appliance. And some politicians, with the Varese representatives of the institutions who accepted the invitation. These are the many faces that gave life to the torchlight procession on October 14, to protect the future of the site of Cassinetta.
Work first and foremost
The event, during which Whirlpool workers striked for 2 hours, is one of the many initiatives put in place after last July’s garrison in front of the Prefecture and the meeting with the mayors on Monday 10. The goal of the torchlight procession is only one, well summarised in the leaflet that advertised the event in recent days: “Work first of all”. The workers and the USW ask the company to explain what its intentions are in Europe and therefore in Italy: will they abandon the old continent, will they sell to other mutinational companies, will they close the plant? Everyone hopes that this latter hypothesis will not be taken into account. At least 5000 jobs, both directly and indirectly, are at stake.
Silence is scary
The procession took off shortly after 7 pm, an hour after the participants began to meet outside the gates of the site of Cassinetta, starting from those who have been working for Whirlpool for some time. «I have been here for 20 years and I have never experienced such a situation», says an employee. «It is a critical situation because Whirlpool is not giving answers either to us or to the Union, or the institutions,» says another employee who has been working there for 32 years. «This silence that frightens us, we do not know what we are going to face. We hope that our struggles can do something good at this moment», said another colleague.
Among the protesters there were also some retired workers who used to operate at the Cassinetta plant. «I worked in Whirlpool for more than 40 years. The situation used to be better, now there is too much confusion, we do not understand what they’ll decide». Some workers of ancillary companies also took part in the procession. For example, the RSU of Malgesso. Then the procession started and moved towards the Town Hall of Biandronno. A 3-chilometre long path marked by the silence and the light of the torches, so that the light on the story does not turn off.
Institutions and politicians
Political and institutional representatives of the territory were invited to the initiative. An appeal that representatives of the different sides have accepted. The Senator Alessandro Alfieri, the MEP Isabella Tovaglieri, the regional councillors, Francesca Brianza, Marco Colombo and Samuele Astuti, the president of the Province of Varese, Emanuele Antonelli and the provincial councillors, Alberto Barcaro and Sergio Ghiringhelli and a large delegation of about 30 mayors, including Varese’s Davide Galimberti and Gallarate’s Andrea Cassani took part.