NEWS » The strikes against the Italian government’s new measures

The strikes against the Italian government’s new measures


The final approval of Mario Monti’s austerity budget in the Senate chamber, and its subsequent conversion into law, was expected before Christmas.

However, the new Prime Minister is facing growing discontent. The trade unions in particular manifested their disapproval of the government’s measures.

After a general strike and the transport’s strike , also the public sector workers protested against the austerity measures of Monti’s government.

Members of the three main Italian unions CGIL, CISL and UIL protested in front of the parliament building in Rome, complaining that the austerity measures are going to affect only the public sector and pensioners.

The unified national strike called by trade unions CGIL, CISL and UIL, affected all the public sectors from education to healthcare and asked for a more equal operation.

Teachers, professors, doctors, vets, and public officers went on strike.

Demonstrations all over Italy asked for a radical change of the measures in order to provide more social equity.

The main reason behind the demonstrations is that, according to a consistent part of the public opinion, Monti’s government measures hit hard mainly on pensioners, employees, and the middle class.

One of the hot spots of the austerity measures is the reform of the labour market, announced by the labour minister Elsa Fornero.

The main controversy has been about a modification of the 18th article of the Workers’ Statute, according to which the dismissal of an employee, (only in companies with at least 15 employees) is valid only if it is for a justified cause or reason.

Without these assumptions, the court may declare the illegality of the act and order the reinstatement of the employee in the place of work. Alternatively, the employee may accept compensation equal to 15 month’s salary.

The debate on the amendments to the 18th Article has been at the centre of the political debate for many years. To simplify, on one hand some politicians see it as an untouchable landmark arguing that to repeal it would mean to weaken the other forms of protection of workers’ rights; on the other hand some believe it necessary to make more flexible the employment relationship, overcoming the dualism that characterizes the labour law, too generous with the holders of a permanent contract and too stingy with employees with temporary ones.

The modifications announced by the government aim to make the labour market more flexible but in the current situation of huge unemployment flexibility might mean a very uncertain future for workers.

Giulia Lombardo

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