Workers at virtually all of Italy’s ports have downed tools in protest at what they claim are dangerous working conditions. Three of the country’s main trade unions called the snap strike after two men died at a port near Venice on Thursday night, overcome by fumes while cleaning out a ship’s hold.
A colleague of the dead men said one worker went down into the hold and became unwell straight away. The second worker tried to rescue him but he fell ill too. All efforts to resuscitate them failed.
He claimed the boat’s emergency oxygen cannister was empty, adding that if it had been full, the second man may not have had to go down. Unions say accidents in 2007 reached what they called “intolerable levels”.