With less than two weeks before seven million pupils go back to school in Italy, thousands of staff members across the country are still without a work contract for the new term.Protests have been held all week in several cities including Rome, Palermo and Napoli against the culling of 42,000 jobs in schools. The leader of the opposition Democratic Party, Dario Franceschini, said at one rally in Naples: “The state is carrying out the biggest mass redundancy plan in Italian history in the sector that needs investment the most, in the education of our children.” The government passed reforms in March that aim to save eight billion euros over three years in the education sector. Fierce opposition at the time seems not to have subsided. Unions say 25,000 temporary school staff still have no contract for the coming year. According to the government’s sums the number is only 10,000 as the rest of those concerned will have taken retirement.