Italians have voted overwhelmingly to work longer and retire later. More than 80 percent of people supported plans to reform the pension system. The changes were hammered out between Romano Prodi’s government and the unions in the summer. The deal waters down reforms promoted by Italy’s previous administration, which would have raised the retirement age to 60 next January. Now, it will go up in stages.
Some five million workers voted in factories, hospitals, schools, and offices over three days this week. Despite the huge majority, metal workers’ unions claimed the ballot was rigged. Car workers at Fiat voted massively to throw out the deal.