The “Pignone” case

In his capacity as mayor, Giorgio La Pira did not neglect the industrial, commercial and financial development of Florence. Among the many achievements realized under his administration are the Milk Depot, the Novoli fruit and vegetable Market, the network of municipal pharmacies, the rebuilding of the bridges blown up by the Nazis, and the Isolotto quarter of the city.

But the pièce de resistance in both the Florentine and nationwide economy with which La Pira for ever linked his name was without doubt the “Pignone”. The Pignone works had expanded during the war period by producing armaments. After the war it tried to convert to the production of textile looms, but met with little success.

ImageThe owners of the factory, Snia Viscosa, had already laid off many workers when in November 1953 it announced the closure of the works. The workers occupied the factories and La Pira publicly sided with them. And this not only to defend the right to work, but according to a clear-sighted strategy regarding the economy of the city.In conjunction with the workers themselves a plan was made to use the turbines which the firm produced for the extraction of petroleum. The Pignone, specialized as it was in this type of production, could become strategically vital to the ENI, then headed by Enrico Mattei and expanding fast thanks to contacts with Arab countries (contacts which also were encouraged by the activities of La Pira). After lengthy negotiations, on 9 January 1954 an agreement was signed, and for the Pignone (now called “Nuovo Pignone”) began a grand new phase of expansion.

 


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