Italian parliament may OK pension reform bill

ITALY - The controversial pension reform bill, seen as a 'make or break' matter for the government, could be approved by parliament before the European and local elections in June.

Italian parliament may OK pension reform billWelfare minister Roberto Maroni, who said last week that the bill would probably be approved before the summer break in August, has now been quoted as saying that 'sceptics' will be surprised.

The bill has been twice modified in the Senate since last year, when the lower chamber of parliament approved it and sent it to the higher chamber for further discussion.

According to the group leaders of the senate, the chamber will be ready to discuss the law on April 29.

The law should be first 'dismissed' by the Senate's labour committee, which has now approved 150 of the 400 amendments and is expected to conclude its process by the beginning of next week.

Committee head Tommaso Zanoletti said there was a "willingness" to conclude matters.

According to Italian media reports, there is to a clause allowing workers who have reached pension age to continue part-time.

Maroni also said that the trade unions, who welcomed the news of the delay last week, would be summoned again.

But according to an official of the trade union CGIL, Confererazione
Italiana Generale del Lavoro, one of the country's three most influential, confusion reigns in the matter of the pension reform.

The official told IPE that the unions had expressed their doubts on the pension over and over, stressing that it did not solve problems.

"Everyday the government comes up with something, but the real issue here is whether it the_bill is or is not approved before the elections," the official said.

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