Protesters lay mock coffins in Milan over workplace safety in Italy

Milan piazza filled with mock coffins to protest workers' deaths, May 11th 2024
Milan piazza filled with mock coffins to protest workers' deaths, May 11th 2024 Copyright Luca Bruno/Copyright 2024 The AP. All rights reserved
Copyright Luca Bruno/Copyright 2024 The AP. All rights reserved
By Euronews with AP
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One of Milan's iconic squares, was filled with symbolic coffins by Italy's second-largest union to highlight the issue of workplace fatalities.

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The protest in Piazza La Scala put 172 cardboard coffins on the ground to remember all of the workers who lost their lives last year in the northern Lombardy region.

The UIL labour union has stressed the need for both the government and businesses to take greater measures to safeguard workers.

La Scala theatre square is filled with 172 coffins, as many as the number of deaths at work that Lombardy recorded in 2023, during a flash mob organised by UIL trade union.
La Scala theatre square is filled with 172 coffins, as many as the number of deaths at work that Lombardy recorded in 2023, during a flash mob organised by UIL trade union.Luca Bruno/Copyright 2024 The AP. All rights reserved

Enrico Vezza, the leader of the UIL union, described the day as one of anger and anguish, highlighting that behind each coffin lay the identities of individual people. He noted that 41 workers had already died in Lombardy this year.

Under the banner of "Zero Deaths," the union's campaign seeks to draw attention to workplace safety issues. A sign at the heart of the square displayed the escalating number of workplace fatalities since 2018, reaching a peak of 1,709 in 2020 amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.

Italy recorded 1,041 workplace fatalities last year.

Eurostat, the European statistics agency, reports Italy ranking eighth among European nations in workplace fatalities, with an incidence rate of 2.66 per 100,000 employed individuals, surpassing the EU average of 1.76.

Friday's protest unfolds amid a disputed discourse on workplace safety in Italy, prompted by a string of fatalities across the country.

Earlier this month, five workers died at a sewage treatment plant near Palermo city in Sicily. In April, seven workers died in an explosion that engulfed several levels of an underground hydroelectric plant in northern Italy. 

And five construction workers  died in February following the collapse of a concrete beam at a supermarket building site in Florence.

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