This site uses technical and analytics cookies.
By continuing to browse, you agree to the use of cookies.

Marcinelle: 8 August marks “National Day of Italian Labour Sacrifices in the World”

On 8 August we celebrate the “National Day of Italian Labour Sacrifices in the World”. This Day ensures that the tragedy of the 136 Italians who lost their lives in the Marcinelle mining disaster, and of all the Italian emigrants who have been victims of workplace accidents, leaves an indelible mark in our national memory.

Commemorating our fellow Italians who have died in the workplace reminds us of the central role of labour as an essential driving force in the life of each individual. From its very first article, our Constitution makes labour one of the cardinal principles of our social system and a cornerstone of our Republic.

The present European economic environment and the difficulties that the integration project has encountered in recent years make labour and support for employment a key challenge that the Community’s member states and institutions cannot shirk. The Marcinelle tragedy must remind all of the institutions, national and European, that our common commitment to provide better employment opportunities and guarantees of safety and security for all the citizens of the continent is and remains a vital goal of the political-economic system.

The memory of the Marcinelle mining tragedy inevitably brings to mind the great drama of our own days. The drama of the migrants in the Mediterranean, driven like our emigrants by the quest for a better future far from their roots, their homes and their loved ones. In this case too, Europe must give a common response to a situation that cannot and must not be a reason for division and contrast. It must be transformed into an opportunity for reflection that enables us to reassert the authentic spirit of sharing that underlies the European integration process.

Our pain and emotion should not, however, allow us to forget our admiration for our communities abroad. They have always managed, with great courage, to start afresh, even after tragedies like Marcinelle. They were, and are, examples of tenacity, hard work and honesty in their host countries and are a source of pride for us all.

Paolo Gentiloni

You might also be interested in..