you're reading...

The Americans took the money and ran

While the Sardinian miners’ protest momentarily grabs the headlines, workers in the nearby aluminium smelter continue their struggle for jobs too. It is a struggle against a foreign corporate giant that is addicted to public hand outs and now they’ve dried up its on its way.

Owner Alcoa, a US multinational with 25 billion dollars turnover worldwide, is planning to quit the island.  The reason, it states, is to cut capacity in order to bolster profits, which grew handsomely last year to 614 million dollars from 262 million dollars in 2010.

Alcoa bought the smelter on the south west of the island from the Italian state in 1995. In 2008 it started complaining about production costs of its plants in Europe, including the Sardianian smelter. And moves to close it followed the same year. The workers mounted a stiff defence and the decision was withdrawn – but only temporarily and by the end of the year latest it is due to close indefinitely unless a buyer is found.

Alcoa, according to a report in Il Fatto Quotidiano, has obtained something like 3 billion euros in state aid over the past 15 years since it purchased the plant. All money approved by the EU.

But when the company understood that the EU permissiveness was coming to an end, it started looking out for new profitable ventures.  It found one in  Ma’aden, Saudi Arabian Mining Company, with which it signed a deal in December 2009 to build a huge smelter in the Gulf state. Production is moving – where energy and labour is  cheaper.

A plan agreed with the government is to maintain full production until 31 August and then keep the smelter working until October 31 when it would be decommissioned. If a serious buyer has been meanwhile found then, Alcoa’s stewardship could be extended to December 31 to allow time for a hand-over. But no buyer has been found, yet.

A parliamentary committee for industry passed a motion confirming ‘the national strategic value of the aluminium sector’ in a country that can only supply 12% of its domestic needs, which is apparently the lowest of any developed country.

So Italy has to import 90% of its aluminium needs. But it is going to stand by and allow its only aluminium production plant to close. 500 skilled workers, who are directly employed, and as many again work in related nearby industries will be made jobless. Their families impoverished. Their communities in this poor island too. And meanwhile, the American fat cats have taken the money and run.

Alcoa, tre miliardi in 15 anni dallo Stato. Ora fugge in Arabia Saudita

More on Alcoa workers’ struggle

Union bosses climb 70-meter Alcoa silos (Ansa, 12 Sep)

About revoltingeurope

Writer on Europe's Left, trade union and social movements @tomgilltweets or email [email protected]



  1. Pingback: Industrial death in Italy « Revolting Europe - September 12, 2012

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Twitter Updates

  • A Week in Revolting Europe paper.li/tomgilltweets/… #austerity #politics #poverty #inequality #protest #banks #pensions #wages #unions 1 week ago
  • A Gathering Storm: Eurozone in 2014 | Jacques Sapir | Revolting Europe wp.me/p1bMfw-1XC 1 week ago
  • RT @labourstart: France: Two Total refineries in France to shut down over strikes ow.ly/rNovF 1 week ago
  • RT @USILive: Banking Union without Reform? - usilive.org/banking-union-… 1 week ago
  • EU credit downgrade 'pours cold water on narrative that things getting better in eurozone' -The Economist. economist.com/blogs/charlema… #austerity 1 week ago
  • RT @corporateeurope: 'Elected politicians excluded from #EU-US negotiations', writes @StaffaniDK #TTIP notat.dk/elected-politi… 1 week ago
  • Women plan mass #protests in #Spain today against law changes taking abortion rights back 30 years newsinfo.inquirer.net/549871/spain-s… 1 week ago
  • RT @euronews: Major austerity drive in Portugal deemed illegal eurone.ws/JOjqV8 1 week ago
  • RT @SocialEurope: Read on SEJ: Why Wage Depression Is Not The Way Out For Spain bit.ly/19xQlGP 1 week ago
  • Families of kids with special needs issue SOS as disability benefits cut & schools cost too much ekathimerini.com/4dcgi/_w_artic… #austerity #greece 2 weeks ago
Follow @tomgilltweets

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.


Anti-social Europe in numbers


Key facts and figures on wages across the EU

Wealth Inequality in Europe

Get the key facts and figures


A different take on European issues

Italy’s Healthcare Crisis

Health services are ‘close to collapse’ in Rome, Turin and Naples after years of cuts and privatisation.


99% of the 167 000 Madrilenos who signed a petition rejected the sell off local water company

Filthy Rich

France's Bernard Arnault of the Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessy (LVMH) empire is worth $41 billion. Check out Europe's rich list


Private banks receive half-trillion-euro gift from ECB


Workers and citizens stand up for themselves


Workers are on a go-slow over privatisation

Massive Spanish protest

Half a million take to the streets over labour market deregulation


Hundreds of workers occupied the factory of ArcelorMittal in Florange in the north of France

International Workers Day

International Workers Day 2012

RSS Watching Corporate Europe

  • Pesticides, tobacco and greedy lawyers: the most read stories from CEO in 2013
  • EFSA urged to clean up list of 'public interest' organisations
  • NGOs welcome Ombudsman’s damning report which heavily criticises Commission

RSS Hate Crimes in Europe

  • An error has occurred; the feed is probably down. Try again later.

RSS Fight discrimination in Europe – Amnesty Int’l

  • Listen to Roma Rights
  • Russia: Total disregard for human rights on “Constitution Day”


in Italy the home is a very dangerous place to be


Workers down tools over PM Monti's attack on labour rights


Concentration camps and a massive migrant marine cemetery





Read the statement by Lafontaine and Melenchon

PM Rajoy One Year On

Spaniards are not impressed








The Dossier