ITALY – Employers group Confindustria has called for and end to uncertainty over pension reform.

Stefano Parisi, general secretary of the body, said that uncertainty over pension reform - which has seen a series of inconclusive meetings between the government and unions – must be overcome.

A speedy implementation of pension reform would be instrumental in “giving new confidence to the country,” Parisi said at the end of a meeting with the government.

Issues such as alternative pension schemes and the so-called “gobba”, the pension expense curve, both part of the reform due to be presented to the higher chamber of Parliament by the end of January, have seen disagreement between the unions, Ggil, Cisl and Uil, and welfare minister Roberto Maroni.

Maroni has termed the unions’ suggestions “interesting”, although no definite agreement has so far been reached and further talks about pensions have been postponed.

“Before the reform plans are submitted to the senate”, Maroni was reported to have promised on Monday, “the government will consult the unions again.”

But the assurance was not enough to make Cgil union, Confederazione Generale Italiana del Lavoro, attend the talks on welfare scheduled for the next day.

Cgil had expected that pension and welfare would be tackled as a whole in the talks, the union’s national secretary for pensions, Morena Piccinini, said in an interview.

The union had pulled out of the talks when it became evident that the pension question would be discussed for the last time on Monday.

“On the pension question, Cigl, Cisl and Uil have concluded the talks on Monday. Now we are waiting to see if and to what extent the government is prepared to change the reform. Tuesday’s talks would have been on welfare and Cgil did not think it opportune to attend because there has not yet been an answer regarding the pensions” Piccinini said.

The government’s reforms have been hailed as “a brave act of responsibility in the interest of the young and old alike” by the youth division of Tuscan branch of Berlusconi’s party.

Forza Italia’s “Giovani Azzuri” was also reported to have said: “ We must counter the concept of general strikes that stall the process of modernisation of the country, with the concept of generation strikes that would include youth movements, all the associations that, are tired as we are to submit to those who oppose the_reform solely to secure unfair and expensive privileges.”