Mario Monti’s so-called ‘Save Italy’ emergency decree measures announced on Sunday have not been well received by the country’s unions.
However, in most Italian newspaper editorials Monti was praised for biting the bullet at a difficult moment and for spreading the pain.
The plan consists of 20 billion euros of budget tightening and an additional 10 billion euros to be pumped back into the economy to help businesses and boost growth.
The measures include the return of a property tax that former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi abolished.
Pensions are being reformed with retirement ages being raised sooner.
Value added tax may go up from next September, a crack down on tax evasion has been announced and to fight the black economy there will be a limit of 1,000 euros for purchases of items in cash.
The package aims to raise more than 10 billion euros with a property tax on first homes and increased levies and second and third homes.
The pension age is to be raised to 66 for men next year and for women by 2018.
Trade unions spoke out against the package and some announced protest strikes.
The head of one of Italy largest unions, Raffaele Bonanni of CISL, said: “I think the government has not taken into account the social impact of these measures. So, rather than working on academic principles it would be better to focus on the impact that these measures will have on people’s daily lives.”
Under the banner ‘Hands off the workers’ his union criticised the economic reform plan saying: “Once again, the sacrifices demanded fall mainly on salaried workers and pensioners and on the weaker sections of society.”