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Italy's unions dig in over proposed austerity measures

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Italy's unions dig in over proposed austerity measures


Italy’s week started with demonstrations and strikes that are set to be repeated over the next five days.

On Monday port, highway and haulage workers angry at Prime Minister Mario Monti’s 33-billion-euro austerity package walked out. On Tuesday most newspapers will not be published while public transport strikes will be staged on Thursday and Friday.

For the first time all four unions are united and say they want a fairer distribution of the cuts.

“This demonstration in front of the parliament building here in Rome is a protest against the budget cuts, which were decided without even the possibility of negotiation between unions and government. These cuts hit only pensioners and employees. And it will hit them like never before,” said Raffaele Bonanni, leader of the CISL Union.

Protests and strikes were staged in other cities. The prime minister met with union leaders on Sunday night but failed to convince them that his plan could work against what he calls,“Italy’s extreme financial situation”.

According to a statement the government is open to amendments as long as they can be fully funded.

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