Shortages and disruption feared with Green Pass rules

Shortages and disruption possible from Friday as strict Green Pass rules commence

Coronavirus News

COVID-19 health passes will be mandatory for all workers in Italy from Friday. Some politicians, unions and businesses fear this will cause shortages and disruption rather than boost inoculations as the government hopes.

Prime Minister Mario Draghi’s cabinet approved the rule in September making it obligatory from 15th October for all workers to qualify for a Green Pass. All workers need either to show proof of vaccination, a negative test or recent recovery from infection.

The government hoped the move would convince unvaccinated Italians to change their minds. However, with over 80% of residents over the age of 12 already fully inoculated and infection rates low, that has not materialised.

Shortages and disruption feared

The rightist League and Brothers of Italy parties and some unions say that, to address the risk of staff shortages, the government should extend the validity of COVID tests from 48 to 72 hours. They also call for them to be free for unvaccinated workers.

“We will not be able to grant a swab every 48 hours to all the unvaccinated. The business people I am in contact with are extremely worried,” said the League’s Luca Zaia, governor of Veneto.

To date, some 15% of private and 8% of public sector workers do not have a Green Pass, Reuters reports. The Green Pass policy has the backing of a majority of Italians, polls show. However, it ahs triggered angry demonstrations. Furthermore, non-vaccinated workers have threatened to block the major port of Trieste it it is not rescinded.

Suspension without pay

The new rules are in effect until the end of the year when the state of emergency ends. Until that time, workers will be suspended without pay. If they attempt to carry on working, however, they face a fine of up to €1,500.

Draghi has support from industrial lobby Confindustria, whose vice-president denied businesses risked being disruption and said it would favour making the vaccine mandatory.

End of remote working would boost small businesses

Public Administration Minister Renato Brunetta said the certificate would help to end remote working for civil servants by allowing fuller offices. This in turn would prove a boost for small businesses in city centres.

Unions say the pass is not enough to ensure workplace safety from COVID. They criticise the decision to suspend the salaries of “no-vax” workers.

“This is a very restrictive measure that could have a serious impact on social stability and exacerbate an already complicated situation,” the UIL union said in a statement.

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