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Italian unions stage a massive protest against government policy

Last weekend the San Giovanni square was full of workers, pensioners and families from all over Italy, many held union flags and banners. Many came to Rome in 12 trains, approximately 1,300 buses and two ships. They joined all together to demonstrate their unity and reiterate the values expressed in the united platform called Piattaforma.

That platform is a set of joint union proposals to the government demanding to make changes in the current policies and start a serious and respectful discussion about the future of the country.

“CGIL, CISL and UIL continue to strongly affirm the necessity for development of the country to be reinforced by expansive policies, and support, in line with the policy expressed by the European Trade Union Confederation, that it is necessary to overcome the austerity policies which, both in Italy and in Europe, led to deep inequality, increased poverty, growth of unemployment in particular among youth and women,” reads the document.

IndustriALL Global Union Italian affiliates are paying the price for the lack of political will of the government to adopt economic and political measures aimed to boost the economy.

So far, the government is planning no measures to increase public and private investment in industry in Italy, which will certainly not encourage growth of employment. On the contrary, some of the laws adopted by the government would provoke an opposite effect. For instance, in energy sector unions are currently fighting against a recent law which prevents companies from searching for and exploiting new oil and gas fields. The legislation may lead to the cut of more than 15,000 workplaces in the energy sectors and make Italy energetically dependent on other countries.

To counterbalance this, in their demands the unions focus on development, growth and employment through public investment, which in its turn attracts private investment and would promote a new structure of production. The state must do a fiscal reform removing excessive charge from salaries and pensions, while struggling against tax evasion, and thus contributing to creation of an equitable system.

Among other demands there is development of a social safety net, which would consider the needs of enterprises completing their restructuring or finding their way out from market crises; modification of the system of social security and welfare through reinforcement of pensions, social politics, fight against poverty, and improved healthcare. Also part of the union platform, are improvement and reforming of the system of professional education and workers retraining programs. Finally, the unions called on the government to invest in public administration, which as a linkage between citizens, enterprises and services is a fundamental tool to accompany politics of growth and development of the country.

The action successfully demonstrated the unity among workers, trade unions and the society supporting the trade union program of action. Although till so far, the proposals have been ignored by the government, this mobilization can push the ruling parties to rethink the future of work in Italy in line with the union platform.

According to the Italian National Institute of Statistics Istat, the unemployment rate in Italy was record high 10.6 per cent in 2018, this is third high in Europe after Greece and Spain. Although there was a decrease from 2017 by 0.7 per cent, it is still far from historical 6.1 per cent in 2007. The young generation workers suffer the most with youth unemployment rate reaching 32.1 percent average among them in 2018.



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