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Italian Unions to Protest Budget Cuts

 
 
 
 
 
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A general view of Piazza Duomo during the FIOM CGIL and Students National Strike on January 28, 2011 in Milan, Italy.

Italian trade unions have called for a strike to protest the recent government austerity measures aimed at resolving the eurozone debt crisis.

Two of Italy’s three biggest trade unions said they would hold a two-hour strike on December 12, AFP reported on Monday

The Cisl and Uil unions said the Prime Minister Mario Monti, plan was “an attack on trade unionism” and called for negotiations with the government over the austerity measures.

The head of Italy’s largest union, the CGIL, Susanna Camusso also said earlier that the measures were aimed at “making money on the backs of poor people in our country.”

The Italian cabinet approved the plan on Sunday and Monti is set to formally present it to parliament on Monday, where final approval is expected before the start of the Christmas break.

Earlier, Monti warned that Italy would “collapse” like Greece without the new austerity measures, saying the package would also help solve the eurozone debt crisis

Most controversially the plan includes a pension reform that will increase the minimum pension age for women to 62 from 2012 and see both sexes retire at 66 by 2018.

The package will also increase and re-introduce taxes on housing and luxury items and includes an option to raise value-added tax if necessary from 2012.

The head of Italy’s largest union, the CGIL, Susanna Camusso also said earlier that the measures were aimed at “making money on the backs of poor people in our country.”

Italy’s debt, totaling around 1.9 trillion euros, is 120 percent of its Gross Domestic Product. Rome has been under intense pressure to act quickly ahead of a key European Union summit on Thursday and Friday.

The government has said it will meet its target of balancing the budget by 2013 but has warned the Italian economy will slip back into recession next year.

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