Whirlpool employees went on strike in Rome on Friday to demand the US company suspends the planned closure of its plant in Naples as well as job cuts nationwide.

Protesters brought along a Whirlpool washing machine, meant to symbolise the death of their industry and its manufacture in Italy. Candles were placed on top and it was carried through the crowds as though it were a coffin.

Demonstrators, some coming from as far afield as Campania, Tuscany and the Marche, criticised the company for upping sticks despite receiving public money.

The march reached the Economic Development Ministry, where a meeting was held between trade unions and Minister Stefano Patuanelli. The politician offered to negotiate with Whirlpool, if the US giant suspends the sale of the Naples plant.

Whirlpool reportedly sold it Naples factory to an unidentified third-party purchaser. Unions claimed that the company was going against an agreement signed in 2018 promising investment and immediately called for an eight-hour national strike on Friday. Production is said to have been brought to a standstill.

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