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General strike in Italy

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General strike in Italy
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There is a general strike in Italy today, called by the country’s biggest union in protest at the national austerity plan.

Silvio Berlusconi’s centre-right administration will be watching the turnout closely. Growing discontent over the proposals is threatening to affect its popularity.

It’s clear not everyone in Italy is singing from the same hymn sheet:

“Our contracts might not be renewed – and they have already run out. This has brought us out onto the streets to show how angry we are.” said one protestor.

The effects of the stoppage are far-reaching. Burials at municipal cemeteries have been postponed – and the country’s airports are deserted.

“We’ve just gone through this budget in England, the cuts are going to be very severe and it will affect a lot of people dramatically, but I really do think we need to get upwards onto the ladder and I think all Europe has got to do that.” one english traveller told reporters.

Initial support for the strike seems to have lessened – it has also split Italy’s trade union movement, with some asking their members to stay on the job.