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Italian government warns Whirlpool against layoffs

Italy's government joined unions on Thursday in denouncing reported plans by US appliance giant Whirlpool to cut 1,350 jobs a year after it took over Italian rival Indesit.

Italian government warns Whirlpool against layoffs
Whirlpool plans to cut 1,350 jobs in Italy. Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images North America/AFP

The economic development ministry in Rome said in a statement that it was taking the reports of planned layoffs seriously, and had asked Whirlpool "to confirm its commitment to not undertake unilateral layoffs" as part its agreement to take over Indesit and its workforce of 5,150 people last year.

The ministry expressed "strong displeasure" at the prospect of potentially heavy job losses at Whirlpool plants, "some of which are located in regions of the country already victimised by de-industrialization."

The announcement came after Italian news agencies quoted union officials who had met with government officials over what they claimed was a plan by Whirlpool to boost investment even while slashing staffing.

"Despite a €500 million ($536 million) investment plan over four years and an increased production outlook for Italy, Whirlpool indicated it wants to eliminate 1,350 jobs, including 1,200 in factories and 150 in research centres," said Gianluca Ficco, an official with the Uilm union.

"We expressed our total disagreement, and asked Whirlpool to respect the accords concluded – including the one between Indesit and the (development) ministry signed a little more than a year ago, which stipulates… that no employees can be laid off.

"We count on the government to assist us and make certain this agreement it was part to is respected."

In its statement opposing the purported job reductions, the ministry said it remained ready to negotiate with Whirlpool on ways to preserve as many jobs as possible.

Italy's unemployment rate stands at 12.7 percent, rising to 42.6 percent among young people.

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TOURISM

What does the US’s new risk classification for Italy mean for American travellers?

The US State Department has changed its advice on travel to Italy as well as dozens of other countries with improving Covid infection rates. What does this mean for Americans who want to come to Italy?

What does the US's new risk classification for Italy mean for American travellers?
Photo: Andrea Pattaro/AFP

The US has downgraded Italy from its “do not travel” list (level 4) to “reconsider travel” (level 3). 

The decision by the US State Department and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention means that Ital yis no longer in the highest risk classification for travel. 

However, according to the State Department’s advice for level 3 “reconsider travel”, “US nationals should avoid travel due to serious risks to safety and security”. 

“Make sure you are fully vaccinated before traveling to Italy. Unvaccinated travelers should avoid nonessential travel to Italy,” reads the CDC website.

However, Italy’s entry rules for Americans remain unchanged since May 16th.

As the US remains on Italy’s travel ‘D list’, entry is allowed for any reason but all arrivals from the US are subject to a mandatory 10-day quarantine period unless on a special Covid-tested flight.

People arriving on other flights, including those who must travel for essential reasons, must provide negative test results as well as facing the quarantine requirement on arrival, under rules which are currently set to stay in force until at least July 30th. (However, it’s possible that they may be dropped earlier – or extended beyond that date.)

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There is currently no exemption to the Italian travel restrictions for people who have been vaccinated.

However, Italy’s government said on Wednesday that its long-awaited travel ‘green pass’ or health certificate would be ready for use in the coming days.

The pass will be available to anyone who has either been vaccinated, has tested negative for coronavirus within the past 48 hours, or has recently contracted and recovered from Covid-19.

Authorities did not clarify whether the pass would be made available to non-EU citizens immediately. Find more details here.

Other countries that are no longer classified as “do not travel” by the US are France, Spain, Japan, Greece, Switzerland, Canada and Mexico. You can find out other countries’ classifications here

The CDC said it had also updated the criteria it uses to determine these risk levels “to better differentiate countries with severe outbreak situations from countries with sustained, but controlled, Covid-19 spread”.

The US State Department uses the CDC’s recommendations to set its own travel advice but also considers other factors such as Covid restrictions and terrorism in other countries.

All returning US citizens require a negative Covid-19 test result before boarding their plane back, the CDC added.

Stay up to date with Italy’s travel rules by following The Local’s travel section and checking the Italian Health Ministry’s website (in English).

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