Italy's Cardinal Giovanni Colombo celebrated Holy Mass before thousands of newly-redundant Milan workers at the large Leyland-Innocenti car manufacturing plant in the city on Sunday (7 December) as speculation over the factory's future continued.
GV Leyland-Innocenti plant. (2 shots)
GV AND SV Striking workers behind gate holding banner. (2 shots)
SV People entering church.
GV Mass in progress.
SVS Service continues. (2 shots)
SV Priest conducting service.
TV AND SVS Congregation. (3 shots)
GV PAN Congregation applauding.
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Background: Italy's Cardinal Giovanni Colombo celebrated Holy Mass before thousands of newly-redundant Milan workers at the large Leyland-Innocenti car manufacturing plant in the city on Sunday (7 December) as speculation over the factory's future continued.
Innocenti's foreign owners, British Leyland, announced recently that they had decided to liquidate their Italian subsidiary after efforts to reverse loses at the factory had failed. The company had been unable to persuade Italian trades unions to accept redundancies affecting one third of Innocenti's 4,500 workforce, coupled with sizeable productivity increases.
Leyland itself has gone through a series of increasing economic difficulties at home in Britain, where it is now being subsidised from public funds.
Reaction to the liquidation announcement in Italy has been swift. Innocenti workers have begun a mass sit-in at the plant, while last week Milan was paralysed for four hours as an estimated one million workers quite their jobs in sympathy.
Meanwhile, the Italian government has had talks with the country's largest car manufacturers, the First company of Turin, on turning the Innocenti factory at Lambrate, on the outskirts of Milan, into a light diesel truck plant.
Addressing worker during Mass, Cardinal Colombo said he was taking the occasion -- marking the feast day of Milan's patron saint, St. Ambrogio -- to show the Roman Catholic Church's sympathy and solidarity not only with the sacked Innocenti men, but with all people affected by the country's grave economic crisis.
SYNOPSIS: At the Leyland-Innocenti car plant in Milan, Italian workers are continuing their sit-in. They're protesting about British Leyland's decision to put their loss-making Italian subsidiary, Innocenti, into liquidation.
On Sunday, thousands of people joined strikers at the factory to attend Holy Mass, celebrated by Cardinal Giovanni Colombo. the Cardinal said he's chosen to hold Mass at the car plant that day -- the feast day of Milan's patron saint, Saint Ambrogio -- to illustrate the Church's solidarity with all those affected by the country's grave economic crisis.
Speculation's still rife over the future of the Innocenti workers....but it seems probable that the giant Italian car company, Fiat of Turin, may take over the Milan factory for the production of light diesel trucks. Four and a half thousand workers in Milan stand to lose their jobs unless swift action is taken.