Italian unions to strike over pension reform

ITALY – Italian unions have voted to make a “constructive” strike against pension reform on March 26.

Six thousand delegates of the country’s leading trade unions, Cgil, Cisl and Uil, voted at yesterday’s general meeting to down tools in protest at the government’s pensions reform and economic policies.

The strike, likely to involve millions of workers, is a bid to launch an innovative agenda, Cisl said. “It is a constructive strike, to open a new season of innovation. We think of it as a ‘pro strike’,” a Cisl official told IPE.

The union spokesman explained that the strike is to be the launch pad for the unions’ new economic model. The unions are prepared to hold talks with the government and the employers’ representative body, Confindustria.

“We want to discuss, negotiate, plan ahead. You cannot have fair distribution of wealth if you do not create wealth,” he said.

Achieving the required changes could take months, the spokesman admitted. But he said that if the government were prepared to discuss the model, the unions would be prepared to attend talks.

The unions did not welcome the government’s proposal to change retirement age from 57 to 60, he said.

“We are about people, at this time our attention is completely turned to people and the re-launch of the country. Our strategy is to work together to a deep reform,” he added.

The unions would hold meetings with their members “to involve and positively mobilize them. We want their support, consensus and participation.”

The three unions represent 12 million members.

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