The Italian labor group CGIL (Italian General Confederation of Labour) has pledged its support to the cruise ship industry in Venice, Italy.

The note issued by CGIl, written by Umberto Tronchin, general secretary, reads:

Until now we have avoided entering directly into the merits of this issue, which is the subject of considerable discussion in Venice.

We are absolutely certain that some of the arguments concerning the passage of ships are real, even though some approach the discussion in an entirely unrealistic fashion. If the intention is to speak of protection, environmental safeguards, safety and observance of the law, there will be no objections on our part  — indeed, we will participate fully. If the intention is to speak of Venice as a common good, we need no convincing, for we are already convinced.

We also need no convincing to let the experts determine alternative ways to be used to enter the lagoon. However, there is one thing we are not willing to put up for discussion: the employment system.

We cannot allow employment in our city to fall further. Labor conditions are critical in our area: production is declining rapidly across the board and severe job issues remain.

In addition to the considerable economic interests that such activities represent for the city, the employment system provides guarantees to no fewer than 5,500 local workers.

The statements by the new CEO of Costa Crociere, who has decided to move one ship to Trieste immediately, leading to the belief that the entire fleet may be transferred to that same port, are not helpful in this regard. Venice and its workers cannot miss this opportunity, and it is a source of prestige for Venice to be home to Europe’s most important passenger hub, ahead of Barcelona.

We hope discussions will be held and the conditions needed to protect the interests at stake will be identified in short order. However, it also ought not to be forgotten that employment is something our city increasingly lacks. The situation needs to be resolved quickly, before the choices become permanent and harm our economy, our society and our city.