Pope calls for renewed effort to protect jobs
Published 01/02/2010 | 05:00
POPE Benedict yesterday appealed to businesses and politicians to prevent further job losses.
In a surprise move that delighted trade unions, he even made an explicit reference to two Italian factories that are due to be shut down soon.
Speaking to the crowd in St Peter's Square after his weekly Angelus blessing, he said: "The economic crisis is causing the loss of many jobs and this calls for a huge sense of responsibility by everyone -- entrepreneurs, workers and governing officials.
"I think of some difficult situations in Italy, like, for example, Termini Imerese and Portovesme. . . Do everything possible to protect and spur job growth, assuring dignified and adequate work to sustain families."
The US aluminium producer, Alcoa, has said it would shut down its Portovesme factory and another Italian plant next month. Fiat also plans to shut its Termini Imerese plant in Sicily.
Workers and union leaders at Termini Imerese said they were moved and overjoyed when they heard the Pope's address on Italian television.
Opposition politicians also used it to step up pressure on the Italian government and said his words highlighted the need for new measures to protect and create jobs.
But the labour minister, Maurizio Sacconi, said it was up to businesses to heed the Pope's call by responding to the crisis with a sense of "social responsibility".