The Italian government has threatened disciplinary action after 83 per cent of police in Rome called in sick for work on New Year’s Eve.
An inquiry has been launched to determine whether the mass absence on one of the most hectic nights of the year amounted to an unofficial strike.
Prime Minister Matteo Renzi tweeted angry response, saying this is why employment laws need to be changed.
Leggo di 83 vigili su 100 a Roma che non lavorano "per malattia" il 31dic. Ecco perché nel 2015 cambiamo regole pubblico impiego #Buon2015— Matteo Renzi (@matteorenzi) January 2, 2015
Police and the government have clashed for months over changes to their salaries and working conditions. Deputy mayor of Rome, Luigi Nieri expressed his disbelief at the actions of the officers.
“Remember it was a big party, with over 600,000 people who wanted to celebrate the arrival of the new year. This is unacceptable.”
He added that they will check case by case what happened on the night.
In the end the festivities passed off without incident.
However, unions warned of a an impending crescendo of protests in the capital.