- Title: ITALY-STRIKE/MORNING Italian unions strike over Renzi employment reforms
- Date: 12th December 2014
- Summary: ROME, ITALY (DECEMBER 12, 2014) (REUTERS) PEOPLE ON STREET PEOPLE WAITING AT BUS STOP EMPTY BUSES HEADING TO DEPOT BUS WITH DEPOT WRITTEN ON FRONT VARIOUS OF PEOPLE WALKING ALONG STREET OUT OF SERVICE SIGN ON FRONT OF BUS EMPTY BUS LEAVING STOP PEOPLE WALKING ALONG ROAD TAXIS IN TRAFFIC (SOUNDBITE) (Italian) COMMUTER LORIANA BLASI, SAYING: "I think it is right to strike, it is time, we need to start moving things. We need to start playing our part as citizens and workers. It is right to strike. Unfortunately I work for a private company, otherwise I would strike as well." (SOUNDBITE) (Italian) PENSIONER NANDO, SAYING: "We need this strike because this government spends billions on weapons and wars and doesn't give anything to the workers." (SOUNDBITE) (Italian) SOUTH AFRICAN TOURIST, TERENCE COOK, SAYING: "I think it hurts the economy, it's not good. I think it should be solved without strikes. It's better for the country, the country will make more money, the more you strike the less money the country makes and the more it affects the country. So I don't think it's a good idea to strike." METRO STATION ENTRANCE SIGN SAYING "METRO CLOSED DUE TO STRIKE" COMMUTERS LEAVING METRO AHEAD OF CLOSURE METRO EMPLOYEE CLOSING METRO GATES DEMONSTRATORS GATHERING FOR MARCH CGIL (GENERAL ITALIAN CONFEDERATION OF LABOUR) UNION DEMONSTRATORS HOLDING BALLOONS WITH FACE OF ITALIAN PRIME MINISTER MATTEO RENZI REPRESENTED AS PINOCCHIO VARIOUS DEMONSTRATORS PREPARING FOR MARCH UIL (ITALIAN LABOUR UNION) UNION DEMONSTRATOR WEARING SAFETY HELMET CGIL UNION DEMONSTRATORS PLAYING DRUMS AS MAN SPEAKS ON MEGAPHONE VARIOUS UIL AND CGIL BALLOONS DEMONSTRATORS MARCHING
- Embargoed: 27th December 2014 12:00
- Location: Italy
- Country: Italy
- Topics: General
- Reuters ID: LVA8J1PR7JPQCV86QZLX45V9C46B
- Story Text: Italian unions held a nationwide strike on Friday (December 12), the latest in a series of walkouts and demonstrations against prime minister Matteo Renzi's plans to overhaul employment rules to make it easier for companies to lay off workers.
Renzi, facing resistance from both unions and some in his own centre-left Democratic Party, has pledged to push on with reforms to Italy's limping economy, heading for a third straight year of contraction.
The main target of Friday's demonstrations is the 39 year-old premier's "Jobs Act", which aims to make it easier for companies to fire employees if business is bad and weakens a treasured right to protest unlawful dismissal.
The CGIL, Italy's largest union, adopted the slogan: "This is not ok!" aimed at the government's budget plans, sclerotic public administration and economic policies in general.
Buses, metro and train services will all be disrupted by the strike action with most public transport grinding to a halt at 0900 (0800 gmt). Commuters rushed to reach their final destination ahead of the stoppage but overall most people supported the action.
"I think it is right to strike, it is time, we need to start moving things," said commuter Loriana Blasi.
"We need to start playing our part as citizens and workers. It is right to strike. Unfortunately I work for a private company, otherwise I would strike as well," she said.
"We need this strike," said pensioner Nando, on his way to join a demonstration.
"... because this government spends billions on weapons and wars and doesn't give anything to the workers," he said.
At least one tourist said he thought a strike was not the best way to protest.
"I think it hurts the economy, it's not good," said South African tourist Terence Cook.
"I think it should be solved without strikes. It's better for the country, the country will make more money, the more you strike the less money the country makes and the more it affects the country," Cook said.
Students and workers took to the streets in protests that are set to last most of the day. Blue balloons for the UIL union members and red for the CGIL unions floated in the sky. Many protesters also held balloons with the face of Renzi depicted with a Pinocchio nose.
Some international and domestic flights were also expected to be affected by the strike.
The Jobs Act is part of a package of promised measures to jump-start the euro zone's most sluggish economy, whose citizens had less spending power on average in 2013 than they had at the start of the century.
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