40 percent of the 950 employees at the port of Trieste are not vaccinated and do not want to undergo any tests in order to receive the “Green Passport”, which will be required in Italy from October 15 for access to workplaces. The rapid tests have to be paid for by the employees themselves, are valid for 48 hours and cost 15 euros.
The President of the Trieste Port Authority, Zeno D’Agostino, threatened to resign if there was a port blockade. Concerned about a blockade, the Ministry of the Interior in Rome looked for a compromise solution, which, however, annoyed the workforce at the ports even more.
“Unconstitutional and discriminatory”
The Ministry of the Interior called on the port authorities and companies in the logistics sector to provide their employees with free tests. The offer was rejected. Only the companies operating in the port of Trieste agreed to pay unvaccinated workers for the tests by December 31st.
Employees at the port of Trieste said they would continue their protest until the “green passport” requirement, which they describe as “unconstitutional and discriminatory”, is abolished for all workers in Italy.
“Real danger of a mass exodus of drivers”
The President of the Freighters Association Conftrasporto-Confcommercio, Paolo Ugge, warned in a letter to Prime Minister Mario Draghi of the risk of traffic chaos in the logistics sector, as numerous truck drivers, especially people from abroad, do not have a “green passport”. “There is a real risk of a mass exodus of drivers who have already announced that they want to return to their countries of origin or even move to other European countries in order not to have to be vaccinated or tested for the ‘Green Passport’,” said the boss of the ANITA haulage association, the South Tyrolean Thomas Baumgartner.
Baumgartner warned that this could cause irreparable damage to companies that are already suffering from the shortage of drivers and hinder the economic upturn. “The specter that Italy is witnessing a massive emigration of workers is getting closer and closer,” the ANITA President continued.
Several arrests during weekend demos
According to the organizers, around 100,000 people took part in a protest against the “3-G rule” in Rome on Saturday. Similar demonstrations had taken place in several Italian cities in the past few days. Several hundred people split off from the main demonstration in Rome on Saturday and tried to march to parliament.
The police used water cannons and tear gas to stop them. Further protests took place in Milan and Cesena. After the violent riots, the police arrested twelve people on Sunday, including Roberto Fiore, general secretary of the right-wing extremist Forza Nuova party, and the Roman Forza party leader Giuliano Castellino. In view of the latest developments, moderate and left-wing politicians have called for the party to be banned.
“3-G” is already mandatory in other areas
In Italy, from Friday, all employees with the “Green Passport” must prove a CoV vaccination, recovery or a negative test if they want to go about their work. Otherwise there is a risk of sanctions. Those who cannot show an Italian “Green Passport” are not allowed to come to work, are considered absent without excuse, risk suspension and receive no salary. Coronavirus tests are only free for people who cannot be vaccinated for health reasons.
However, social security contributions and similar benefits will continue to be paid. The “3-G rule” affects 23 million employees in the private and public sectors. In the past, the “Green Pass” had to be presented in the interiors of restaurants, cinemas and sports stadiums, on intercity trains, buses and on domestic flights in Italy. According to the Ministry of Health, around 80 percent of people in Italy have been fully vaccinated for over twelve years. Italy has almost 60 million inhabitants. The country has registered more than 130,000 coronavirus-related deaths so far.