An Italian government official on Monday reassured workers of the troubled steel plant ILVA that the state would take care of them.
The move came after 9.3 billion euros (12 billion U.S. dollars) worth of assets belonging to the owners of the steel company were seized and the ILVA's board of directors resigned en masse.
"The government will not leave ILVA workers alone," said Italian Undersecretary for Economic Development Claudio De Vincenti. "Guaranteeing continuity in production (at ILVA plants) is in the national interest," he added.
National secretary for the Democratic Party (PD) - the main party on the left in Italy's left-right coalition government - also tried to assuage unions that the ILVA's current troubles would not lead to shut-down of the plant in the southern city of Taranto.
The ILVA "cannot be stopped, because if that plant is shut down, we will have a cascade of negative consequences for most of Italy's steel plants," said PD Secretary Guglielmo Epifani on Monday.
Some 1.2 billion euros transferred out of Italy by the Riva family, owners of the holding company that owns the troubled ILVA steel plant, were confiscated last Wednesday. Investigators said they were probing Emilio and Adriano Riva for suspected of fraud against the State and fake money transfers.
Then police in Taranto on Friday confiscated 8.1 billion euros worth of property and goods belonging to the Riva family, triggering the mass resignation on Saturday of ILVA's board of directors, including its chairman, Bruno Ferrante, and chief executive, Enrico Bondi, a corporate turnaround guru appointed in April.
On December 10, last year, Taranto prosecutors issued a European arrest warrant for Fabio Riva, the deputy chairman of parent-company Riva, saying that he was sought as part of a criminal probe into the environmental scandal at the ILVA steel plant in Taranto. Fabio Riva was arrested in London in January after two months on the run. The other top managers have also been arrested as part of the investigations.
The ILVA has been involved in the political and legal battle since last July when local magistrates ordered partial closure of its Taranto plant due to serious health concerns.