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Italian unions call for public sector strike

Italian unions call for public sector strike
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Italy’s two biggest unions called on civil servants to strike on Friday in protest at government spending cuts.

Prime Minister Mario Monti has pushed through tough austerity measures to turn around the country’s public finances and stave off the need for an international bailout.

Policewoman Cristina Garbin said the belt-tightening policies will leave Italians worse off.

“These continued cuts…will penalise not only public workers, but also services for our citizens,” she said.

Pio Zappaterreno, an official from the CGIL union, said he wanted to protest against Monti’s policies because “up to now he has just made the weakest pay.”

Italy’s technocratic government, appointed in November, has passed a series of reforms to boost productivity and competitiveness.

They include changes to unemployment benefits, as well as new rules to make it easier for companies to hire and fire workers.

But ministers expect the country’s economy to shrink by 2.4 per cent this year, and by 0.2 per cent next year.