UNA PASSIONE CHE DURA DA PIÙ DI 70 ANNI
“Cooperativa Fornaciai Laterizi del Comune di Correggio” was built in 25 June 1945, immediately after the end of the World War II, when many people were unemployed. About thirty worker leased the local inactive furnace from the legal owner, the Giovannetti brothers, and collected the first facilities and coal stocks to start the production. They bought wheelbarrows, spades, shovels and hoes, to manually dig the quarry and work the clay. They made a loan agreement of 1.000.000 Lire, endorsed by Arrigo Cagarella, an industrial manager, and guaranteed by 700.000 raw bricks.
THE FIRST PRODUCTION
In December 1945 the furnace was turned on, even if winter is not the proper season to start it: there was need to sell bricks to pay wages and creditors. A first supply of about 300.000 bricks was sent to CCPL and sold at the production price (4,80 Lire/brick) just to collect some liquidity.
The cooperative steadily raised the production, despite the difficulties (mainly financial ones) of the first years, and in the 1948 the partners grew to 52 workers.
The next year, the facility became electrified: until 1949 every machine was driven by a petrol engine. This upgrade allowed the introduction of newer machinery in the following years.
In 1960 the use of methane replaced coal as kiln fuel; the same year, the company bought he furnace and the nearby area. This operation allowed the cooperative to make long term investments, which weren’t reasonable on a rented facility. From now on workers started to work 12 months/year, thank to the use of multiple dryers.
In 1968 the first tunnel kiln was built, speeding up the production capacity of façade bricks, the company flagship product. The cooperative grew as a renowned regional leader in the brick production.
In 1975 a second tunnel kiln, a modern clay processor and a state of the art for façade bricks dryer were built.
In 1972 the new general manager Arnaldo Oliva merged the company with other local cooperatives and built the new society Unicoop di Correggio. Many partners of the old company followed this new adventure.
Partners improved their skills and developed a new political and social awareness: they took part of so many economical, social and political aspects of the new cooperative, that we could speak of a real self-management of the new company.
Of course the first years were very hard: partners encountered many difficulties, like delays on the payday, or had to work for free. Afterwards the company managed to pay partners regularly and in the last years it gave them better wages than the industry average.
In the 60’s the company set up an health insurance to back up the poor national health service that the Italian government guaranteed.
FORNACE DI FOSDONDO WAS BORN
When the Unicoop was built, it had 70 emplyees and the assets were solid.
In 1985 Unicoop and Ircoop of Reggio Emilia merged into Unieco Soc. Coop.
In 2012 Unieco created a new branch named “Fornace di Fosdondo” and conferred it to another controlled company, named “Terremilia srl” (Terremilia LTD).
In June 24th 2016 Fornace di Fosdondo soc. coop. was built and acquired the shares of Terremilia from Unieco. The 20 new partners are still carrying on an adventure begun 70 years ago.