Dr Dominic Standish is a lecturer, author and commentator living in Italy. He lectures for the University of Iowa and is the author of ‘Venice in Environmental Peril? Myth and Reality’. Follow him on Twitter @domstandish
From today, all employees in Italy are legally required to have the country’s ‘green pass’, showing they have had at least one dose of a vaccine, or have recovered from the disease within the last six months, to go to work. Alternatively, they can also do their jobs if they pay (out of their own pockets) for a test every two days, provided it comes back negative, obviously. Currently, around 15% of private and 8% of public sector employees are reported to not have the green pass.
Workers in Trieste announced they would strike at the port from today and are refusing to conform with green pass requirements. Late yesterday, this strike was ruled illegal, but thousands of port workers are out demonstrating against the pass today.
In the Venice region, at Electrolux, which has 23% of 1,430 employees unvaccinated, an eight-hour strike started today against the pass. Many other businesses face disruptions as employers struggle with checks every day as they cannot store employees’ health data due to privacy regulations. Many buses and coaches in the Venice region have been cancelled due to a lack of drivers with passes.
In addition, it is estimated 30% of lorry drivers in Italy do not have the pass. Forty percent of drivers originate from outside Italy, meaning many of them have types of vaccination doses that are unrecognised by the government and may be unable to enter workplaces from today.
Employees risk fines of up to €1,500 and being suspended from work without pay if they do not comply with the new regulations. The only other country that has made evidence of not having Covid-19 necessary for all employees is Saudi Arabia.
Italy’s green pass was initially announced in mid-July, came into force on August 6, and was required for foreign flights, to eat inside restaurants, to work in healthcare, and enter museums, concerts, galleries, theatres, cinemas, and sporting venues.
On September 1, the green pass was extended as necessary to travel on long distance trains and buses, domestic flights, for all employees at schools and universities, and for students to attend university.
There were concerns over vaccine uptake in mid-September, with 12.3% of the Italian population aged 50 and over. Brinkwire Summary News. For more information, search on the internet.