Disabled Nestlé worker fired for Facebook post

Swiss food giant Nestlé fired a disabled member of staff at its Perugina chocolate division in Italy after she posted a message on Facebook that “undermined the authority” of managers, a media report says.

Disabled Nestlé worker fired for Facebook post
Perugina chocolate shop. Photo: Perugina

The alleged offence took place on October 30th, when Marilena Petruccioli, an employee at the plant in Perugia, posted a message on her Facebook page.

In it she expressed her disgust over a disciplinary note from “the head of personnel” that allegedly compared an employee to a dog.

In a case that has now reached parliament, Petruccioli said in the post that the manager should be "put under review" for using the word ‘collare’, meaning ‘dog collar’, in reference to a foreman who had been disciplined for flouting health and safety rules, La Repubblica reported.

“'Il collare' is worn by dogs, not people," she wrote.

"Certain people who hold certain roles should be careful about the terms they use in certain official actions.”

Although Pertuccioli didn’t name Nestlé, she was dismissed earlier this month for “publicly attacking the company’s personnel managers”.

Nestlé reportedly wrote in a letter that Pertuccioli had “ridiculed” company managers on social media for “enforcing stringent sanitation and security measures” to “protect workers, products and customers”.

A representative for Nestlé Italy was not immediately available for comment when contacted by The Local.

The dismissal was condemned by Fai-Cisl, a union that represents workers in the food and agriculture sector, which vowed to “legally cleanse this spectacular own-goal by Nestlé”.

Pertuccioli had been working for the Perugia-based subsidiary since 1996 and was placed under Italy’s “protected” workers category after becoming disabled following a workplace accident in 1997.

Dario Bruschi, the president of the union’s Umbria branch, claimed the Facebook post referred to something that “happened in another company” and “that a series of circumstances might have led to the belief that it referred to Nestlé-Perugina”.

A series of meetings with national union coordinators are planned over the coming days, Bruschi added, while Nicola Fratoianni, a politician with the Left Ecology Freedom party, raised the case in parliament.

“Is this an example of the good relations between employees and employers that the government is trying to bring about with the Jobs Act?" he was cited in Il Manifesto, a communist daily, as saying. 

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.


Switzerland heavily criticised for welcoming foreign skiers

Italy has hit out at Switzerland for failing to prevent foreign skiers from hitting the slopes. Some have gone so far as to blame Switzerland for the spread of virus mutations across Europe.

Switzerland heavily criticised for welcoming foreign skiers
The mighty Matterhorn lies on the border with Italy. Photo by AFP
Italy's government last week blocked ski resorts from reopening, the day before skiing was due to be allowed for the first time this winter season due to coronavirus restrictions.
There is also a ban on non-essential travel until February 25th.

“It's a disaster. For a week now, we have been readying the slopes for the opening and preparing the health protocol,” said Denis Trabucchi, an Italian ski instructor. 

But the ban has not stopped Italian snow enthusiasts from hitting the slopes on the Swiss side of the border, as Switzerland has kept its ski infrastructure open despite the pandemic.

Many Swiss and Italian pistes lie close to each other so it is an easy commute from one resort to another.

The mayors of Italian border towns are annoyed that local skiers are ‘emigrating’ to Swiss ski slopes, according to the Provincio di Como newspaper.

“Cross-border skiers are not as numerous as cross-border workers, of course, but ski traffic has increased,” said Massimiliano Tam, mayor of Villa di Chiavenna, a town in Lombardy.

He said that despite bans on such border hopping, many Italians rent apartments on the Swiss side of the frontier so they can ski.

Roberto Galli, the mayor of Livigno, a ski resort in the Italian Alps, is also livid at the “cross-border ski mobility”.

“Customs controls are really limited” he said, calling for more rigorous checks “especially for Italian cars with ski racks and snow on the roof”.

Italian authorities even went as far as blaming Switzerland for the spread of the pandemic across Europe. 

Walter Ricciardi, the head of the Italian government's coronavirus task force, said Switzerland's decision to keep ski slopes open throughout winter, while neighbouring countries shut down theirs, allowed the British strain of coronavirus to arrive on the continent.

READ MORE: Is Switzerland to blame for Europe’s third wave of coronavirus?

A similar situation occurred in December, when French skiers tried to sneak into Switzerland to ski.

France’s authorities quickly announced that French residents heading abroad to ski would have to self-isolate for seven days on return and that border checks would be stepped up in certain areas. 

READ MORE: EXPLAINED: What are the Covid-19 rules for skiing in Switzerland this winter?