Guns at the Airport – High taxes in Italy moves to Poland
For most fliers, the standard slap-your-forehead moment occurs after opening a suitcase upon arrival and discovering that they forgot to pack their prescription medicine, running shoes or perfect necktie.
Then there are the travelers, few but growing in number, who have a similar reaction, albeit more severe, over an item that they forgot to unpack before boarding. The forehead slap is usually followed by a fine and sometimes a night in jail.
Across the country, people are increasingly being caught at security checkpoints with firearms in their carry-on bags. Nowhere does this happen more often than at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International, the nation’s busiest airport and a magnet of sorts for gun-carrying fliers. Through last week, the Transportation Security Administration had seized 67 guns this year at Hartsfield-Jackson, putting it ahead of last year’s pace and giving the airport a comfortable lead over Dallas-Fort Worth International in its defense of a dubious title. (Not every seizure results in an arrest; the exceptions include some military personnel.) Nationwide, security agents had seized 862 through the first half of 2013, a rate likely to eclipse last year’s record of 1,556.
Earlier this month, the owner of an electrical components factory in the north of the country waved his employees off on their summer holidays. Then, without informing them, he moved the entire operation, lock, stock and barrel, to Poland.
Fabrizio Pedroni, 49, said he was driven to the drastic course of action because his factory, located near the city of Modena, had not turned a profit for five years and he was being strangled by high salaries, crippling taxes and dismal rates of productivity.
Moving the factory to Eastern Europe was the only way of saving his company, which was founded 50 years ago by his grandfather.
When his 40 employees found out what had happened, they were furious. They were not due to return from holiday until next week but got wind of the covert operation in mid-August and turned up at the Firem factory in the town of Formigine to find the place devoid of machinery. They blocked the last of around 20 trucks from leaving the plant, but the rest were long gone, en route to the town of Olawa in south-west Poland.
Mr Pedroni says he has received death threats and will not be returning to Italy anytime soon. “If I had told the unions that I intended to transfer production to Poland, they would have had my property confiscated, just as they tried to block the lorry,” the businessman told Radio 24, an Italian radio station.
“I had to make a choice. Our competitors in Romania and Poland offer much lower prices. I had three options — either close, move the factory, as many other businesses have done, or shoot myself in the head.”