Friday, September 28, 2012

Italian unions strike against PM Monti's spending cuts

(Reuters) - Two of Italy's biggest unions marched through Rome on Friday to protest against Prime Minister Mario Monti's cuts in public spending as opposition grows to austerity policies aimed at steering the country out of its economic crisis.

The strike followed clashes between anti-austerity protesters and police in Madrid and Athens this week and coincided with labor unrest at the ILVA steel plant in southern Italy.

"We are here to protest against Monti's politics, because up until now he has just made the weakest pay," said Pio Zappaterreno as he rallied with fellow members of CGIL, Italy's largest union, in the city center.

Monti's coalition passed spending cuts in August that included a modest downsizing of the public sector, where wages have already been frozen for more than two years, and cuts to state healthcare funding.

University professors, public administration employees and health workers in the CGIL and UIL unions were to stop work in support of the march to the Colosseum. Garbage collectors were also joining the work stoppage.

"At the moment I just can't see a future that gives us any hope, particularly for the youth," former soldier Emilio Amiraglia said at the march. Read More