As many as 30,000 members of Italy’s two largest unions marched through Rome on Friday to protest against government spending cuts.
The demonstration by mainly public sector workers was aimed Prime Minister Mario Monti’s austerity policies.
UIL union member Bartolomeo Perna hit out at Monti’s planned cuts, slamming the government as “being made up only of professors.”
“They make the cuts in one direction only, without really discovering where the real cuts are taking place,” he said.
Monti, a former economics professor and EU commissioner, has pushed through a series of measures to boost competitiveness and improve productivity.
They include reforming Italy’s welfare system, as well as loosening labour laws to make it easier for companies to hire and fire.
But unions argue the cuts are deepening the recession. The jobless rate stands at 10.7 percent, an eight-year high.