Italy: generalization of the health pass at work and risk of blockage

From October 15, Italian workers must be in possession of a valid “green pass” to continue their professional activity, under penalty of sanction.

From this Friday, in Italy, all workers will have to present a valid health pass, called “green pass”, to continue to exercise their profession. The measure is expected to be in effect at least until December 31.

The first European country to be affected by the Covid-19 pandemic in February 2020, Italy has paid a heavy price with more than 130,000 deaths from the disease. The vaccination campaign started in the country in December of the same year. Today, more than 80% of those over 12 are fully immunized.

3.3 million unvaccinated workers

An insufficient rate for Mario Draghi. On September 15, the head of the Italian government therefore announced the generalization of the health pass to all workers in the country, thus giving refractories one month. The measure was taken to encourage vaccination, even though the “green pass” may be valid thanks to a negative test of less than 48 hours or proof of recovery from Covid-19.

According to the daily The Republic, this new obligation will concern approximately 3.3 million unvaccinated workers. This corresponds to 344,000 people in the public service, 2.2 million in the private sector and 740,000 professionals exercising in liberal. Obviously, people who cannot be vaccinated for medical reasons are exempt.

Sanctions

“Those who do not have the Green Pass will not be able to work, which will be considered an unjustified absence, and their salary will be suspended, but without arriving at disciplinary sanctions. However, if one voluntarily fails to declare not to have a certificate and come to work anyway, a disciplinary sanction may be considered, in addition to an administrative sanction ranging from 600 to 1,500 euros. ”, details the daily Corriere della Sera in comments reported by International mail.

In recent weeks, concern has been mounting on the other side of the Alps: will the health system be able to provide enough tests for workers refusing the vaccine and agreeing to pay 15 euros per test? Several unions and political parties have proposed extending the validity of tests from 48 to 72 hours. The government has remained inflexible.

Demonstrations and threats of blocking

Mario Draghi does not intend to bow to protests and threats either. Indeed, faced with the measure, many unvaccinated are ready to face it. Luca Zaia, president of the Veneto region, warned against the “chaos” that hangs over the Italian economy after October 15.

A real risk of blockage exists, in particular in certain sectors of activity where many workers are not vaccinated. Among them, agriculture, which has many foreign seasonal workers, little vaccinated or having received the Russian vaccine Sputnik-V, not approved in Italy.

Another point of tension: maritime transport. In the port of Trieste, on the Adriatic, around 40% of workers are said to be unvaccinated. The dockworkers are threatening to block the port and paralyze a large part of transport in the country, despite an agreement reached to make their tests free.

The measure also sparked violent protests across the country, especially in the capital, Rome, on Saturday, where thousands of people, including far-right activists stormed the headquarters of the Italian General Confederation of Labor. (CGIL).

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