March 25, 2020 / 2:05 PM / 14 days ago

Italy unions say govt has agreed to shut more firms due to coronavirus

ROME, March 25 (Reuters) - Italy’s trade unions said on Wednesday the government had agreed to extend the number of companies that would temporarily close to protect workers’ safety, as the country struggles with a coronavirus outbreak.

“We have revised the list of the activities (that can remain open)... removing everything that was not essential,” the three main unions, CGIL, CISL and UIL said in a joint statement after a meeting with the government.

Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte issued a decree at the weekend shutting all companies not deemed strictly necessary to the country’s supply chain, in an effort to prevent coronavirus infections which have caused some 6,820 fatalities in the country so far.

However the unions said on Monday that it contained too many exceptions and loopholes, and threatened to strike.

The union statement on Wednesday added that the defence minister had pledged to reduce production in the military sector, which would be limited to “indispensable activities”. (Reporting by Angelo Amante, editing by Gavin Jones)

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