Friday, August 24, 2007

SICILY IN FLAMES

43 C here at 1pm and many parts of Sicily are in flames. Three people were killed on Wednesday in a fire at a hotel in the Messina area and today a village in the Palermo area has been evacuated. Some of these fires have been started deliberately and Sicily Guide gives two possible reasons here. As I've mentioned before, I have read that another motive may be the hope of obtaining a job as a firefighter. This would seem to be an erroneous assumption, though, as I read in Corriere today [article unavailable online] that at this time, 70% of Protezione Civile workers are on holiday! Can you believe it, at the most dangerous period of the year? The reason? Good old Italian bureaucracy, of course: these workers' contracts are renewed annually on 31st August and in early August this year 7/10 of them were ordered to take their statutory leave entitlement of 19 days plus 4 bank holidays, so that if their contracts are not renewed they will not have to be paid for holidays they did not take. An almighty row has broken out, with the authorities saying that the workers on leave do not work for the fire service, their colleagues stating that they jolly well do and the public calling for the head of whoever signed this leave law into existence. Meanwhile the President of Italy is calling for a mobilitazione permanente to prevent further tragedies like the one in Patti, Messina.

10 comments:

Crushed by Ingsoc said...

This sort of cynical treatment of workers is becoming common everywhere.
So many people I know are on simple three month contracts and the like, if they have a conteract at all.

Lee said...

What a disgraceful state of affairs. Anyone who commits arson should be jailed for life, in my not so humble opinion! No matter what the reasons!

Chris said...

Similarly, last weekend an hotel in Cornwall burnt down and people died last weekend because apparently the right fire fighting equipment was 50 miles away due to 'stretched resources'. Unbelievable.

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Ciao, Crushed. Sadly, I think you are right. Temporary contracts were very common in teaching at the time I left the UK. Totally agree, Lee. Hi, Chris. Absolutely dreadful - both that it should happen and that there should be "stretched resources".

jmb said...

Another Italian short sighted debacle. I do hope they learn a lesson and never let a tragedy like this happen again.
regards
jmb

tooth fairy said...

I see in the news that Greece is on fire too!

Sir James Robison said...

It sounds very like us over here, Welsh.

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Jmb - yes, hope they do learn a lesson and sort the workers' situation out. TF, just saw that on the news - it looks even worse. James, didn't know you had that problem there?

Girl on the Run... said...

WOW! That is defiantley no good no matter whatever the reason may be! It's reckless!

I pray you and Simi are well and hope the weather breaks soon!

M

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Hi, M. Yes, it's so dangerous. We did have a breeze yesterday but it has gone today. There is some relief in the evenings, though. Thank you for your kind thoughts.

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