Uphill battle for Italy's Monti on labour reform

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Uphill battle for Italy's Monti on labour reform

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Italy’s Prime Minister Mario Monti has a fight on his hands to get parliamentary approval for major labour reforms, which include making it easier for companies to fire workers.

Monti faces heavy resistance from unions, and some in parliament, which now has to approve the measures.

Other politicians will support it. Centrist Lorenzo Cesa, from the Unione di Centro party, called the reforms “courageous and necessary”.

He said: “With businesses closing, and young people without jobs, the parliament can certainly improve these reforms, but they should not distort them.”

However the centre-left Democratic Party (PD), which has strong links with the six-million strong CGIL trade union has vowed to water down the reforms in parliament.

Italy’s Labour Minister Elsa Fornero said she believes the PD will be convinced of the merits of what is being proposed.

Any changes are strongly resisted both by the centre-right People of Freedom party of former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi.

The employers’ organisation, Confindustria, also said any more weakening of the reform would make it useless.

Monti has said that labour reform is as vital as the spending cuts and measures to deregulate the economy already agreed.