CGIL responds to Teresa Moda fire in Prato, Italy

December 2, 2013 – Rome

The tragic accident happened yesterday in Prato, where a fire in a textile warehouse caused the death of seven people and others were severely injured, is yet another signal of an extremely serious diffusion of illegal and underground forms of economy.

The destroyed warehouse was in an area that during the years has been transformed in a sort of “black hole”, where workers were often kept in a condition of true slavery, without even knowing where they were, given their condition of confinement in “dormitory-factories”; where local police and authorities tasked to monitor safety in workplaces, even if deeply committed, are not able to guarantee the respect of current norms; where the trade union is systematically kept out of the gates, and is threatened when it tries to introduce forms of organized protection and attempts to unionize those workers.

Situations such as that in Prato often derive from a sort of illegal chain, where those who make a profit are, in addition to reckless exploiters, also other subjects which live around and thanks to this system; those who rent the warehouses to third party companies that commission part of their production; those who enact a competition based only on cost containment, and those who are advantaged by the spin-off activities generated.

CGIL, when faced with this slaughter in a workplace, expresses its pain and solidarity to the families of the victims and denounces once again the state in which working activities are, that in some sectors and areas (unfortunately not only in Prato) are suffering from forms of exploitation that risk dragging us back to a century ago in terms of working conditions.

For a long time the trade union, also in Prato, has denounced these situations and conditions. CGIL hopes that the investigations of judiciary authorities will identify as soon as possible the responsibilities of the fire, and will mobilize once again, as it has happened already in the past, to cause the surfacing of these situations and to guarantee the respect for the rights of all workers, regardless of their nationality of origin.

A joint demonstration will take place at the same time of the funerals, and the 10th of December the Directive Committee of CGIL Tuscany will meet in Prato to decide which initiatives should be enacted, starting from the working places, to advance its own proposals, convinced that if it is true that integration alone, without the repression of underground working activities, is not enough, it is also true that the sole repression without integration may not solve the problem.

Lastly, CGIL asks to the government and to the structures tasked with monitoring violations and enacting current norms on labor and safety, to start a widespread campaign, starting in the Prato area, to severely repress and punish all illegal workplaces, undocumented labor and all those that make a profit from these situations

CGIL Nazionale