ITALY – The Italian government is facing a possible strike threat over pension reform, a union source said.
“Things will not go well for the government,” if the final draft for the pensions reform, to be presented to the unions tomorrow, will exclusively focus on saving of 0.7% of gross domestic product, said an official who declined to be named at Cgil, one of the three leading unions.
Italians took to the streets over the contested reform in December.
The government was in a “suspicious hurry” to “sell the pension reform as a structural reform” and convince the EU, the person said.
“All kinds of struggles, including a general strike will be considered,” if the pension reform is to pivot exclusively on saving 0.7% of GDP, a condition which welfare minister Roberto Maroni seems to judge indispensable but Cgil has called “unacceptable” because it would weigh on employees too much.
A general strike, however, would not be called by Cgil, Confederazione Generale Italiana del Lavoro alone, the person stressed.
The participation of Cisl, Confererazione Italiana Sindacati Lavoratori, and Uil, Unione Italiana del lavoro, the other leading unions which maintained with Cgil a united front against the government’s plans, would be certainly sought.
Cgil leaders met earlier this week, with general secretary Guglielmo Epifani asking for authorisation to call a general strike “if the cards on the table did not change”.
The government had introduced the much contested five-year increase of the pension threshold after the summer.
The union source said the government talked to the unions following the December 6 action after saying they would not yield to union demands.
“Ever since, all the points of disagreement between the unions and the government have emerged. But in the meantime through the media, they the_government have come up with all sorts of quotas, ratios and ideas”, the person said.