The Government recommends that port companies provide free Covid green pass tests to personnel without green passes. Indeed no. Within a few hours, and two days after the compulsory green pass to access workplaces came into force, a double turn of the Interior Ministry was staged on the question of free tampons for dock workers. The epicenter of the chaos, as is well known, is Trieste, where it is estimated that, among the operators in the sector, there are as many as 40 percent of unvaccinated. The workers themselves have threatened an indefinite strike since October 15: they are demanding the abolition of the green pass obligation, not even settling for free tampons.
The situation is likely to explode, with similar requests that could be made by the port of Genoa, and with numerous other sectors that wonder why the free tampons should be valid for some workers and not for others. The disbandment of the executive, in this context, certainly does not help to calm the waters, not even within the majority, where many did not like the lack of firmness of the Interior Ministry.
“I expressed my opposition to that first circular from the Interior Ministry – declares a TPI Andrea Romano, deputy of the Democratic Party and member of the Transport Commission – for a matter of method: a few days after the entry into force of the Green Pass obligation, a large part of the port world was faced with a ‘recommendation’ from the head of Cabinet of the Interior Ministry which in fact overturned the indications that had come up until then from the Government on the subject of free tampons. The port companies have been preparing for weeks for the appointment on October 15th, and this recommendation has created uncertainty and confusion ”.
The circular, as mentioned, has raised a lot of controversy, both from the left and from the right. The president of the regional council of Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Piero Mauro Zanin (Forza Italia), had in fact defined a “serious mistake” to “create two weights and two measures between the different economic sectors”.
A position also shared by Andrea Romano: “I have the utmost respect for the port workers of Trieste. I have the same for the vast majority of Italian citizens, who have already resorted to vaccination to protect themselves and their community from an epidemic that continues to claim dozens of deaths a day and that cannot yet be considered defeated. I think it is wrong to invoke ‘privileged treatment’ for a particular category, given the sense of responsibility that the workers and trade unions of our country have already shown “
The Interior Ministry then backtracked, specifying in a second circular that “economic operators (in the port sector), in order to give continuity to the sector’s activities, will be able to evaluate, in full autonomy, every possible organizational method for the purpose of acquiring the green pass by employees who do not have it “.
“This second circular – explains Romano – reaffirms the autonomy of economic operators in dealing with the Green Pass issue as they see fit, without any ‘government recommendation’ to provide free tampons. Each operator in the port sector is free to proceed as it sees fit towards its employees, participating in the expenses for tampons or not, on a par with what happens in other economic sectors. Certainty and autonomy: this is what the port world was asking for, net of the bad propaganda of Salvini and Meloni ”. The fact remains that “the first circular from the Head of Cabinet has generated uncertainty and confusion among the operators”.
The lack of firmness on such a delicate issue, at a crucial moment, certainly does not help to clearly define the orientation of a majority that, on the issue, is split, with the League pressing for a relaxation of obligations and pushing to meet the demands of workers not yet vaccinated. A position expressed not only by Salvini, but also by governors such as Zaia, who asked to recognize the validity of the do-it-yourself buffer, therefore the possibility for companies to independently screen their employees.
“The one on the swab is not an ideological clash, as Salvini and Meloni would like, but a pragmatic reasoning – declares Andrea Romano on this point – It is only the vaccine that allows us to defeat the pandemic and therefore to guarantee the full economic recovery of our country. The request for free swabs made sense when there were insufficient supplies of vaccines, but today that request is only instrumental to the anti-vaccine controversy and risks weakening a vaccination campaign that is going very well but that has yet to reach the necessary levels of safety. I fear that the position of Zaia and other Northern League governors looks more to the discussion within their party, than to the priority need to protect public health and economic recovery. Salvini’s ambiguities on vaccines and green passes caused a bitter debate in the League, as well as penalizing that party in the polls. Salvini’s leadership slipped heavily, and evidently the members of the League who had most distanced themselves from him decided to put a stop to internal controversies in order not to risk the party implosion ”.