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Protests closed Whirlpool factory in Italy

Christian Fernsby |
Whirlpool said on Tuesday it would close its plant in Naples on November 1.

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Whirlpool said in May that production of high-end washing machines in Naples was no longer profitable and that it intended to sell the factory, which employs 450 workers in a region with some of the highest unemployment levels in Italy.

Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte and Industry Minister Stefano Patuanelli held a last ditch meeting with company managers on Tuesday but failed to win any concessions.

“The talks were not positive ... the company continues to offer as a single solution: a sale of the business branch,” Patuanelli said after the meeting in Rome.

Metalworkers union FIOM-CGIL called for a two hour strike at the company’s six plants in Italy and some 300 workers blocked a highway outside Naples in protest at the decision.

Whirlpool, which employs around 5,500 people in Italy, said it had failed to make any progress in months of negotiations about a reorganization of the site and confirmed the plant would be shut down at the start of next month.

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