Italy risks “social explosion” over austerity: union chief

Thursday, December 15, 2011
By Paul Martin

By Gavin Jones and Massimiliano Di Giorgio
Wed Dec 14, 2011

Italy risks a “social explosion” over the government’s austerity measures and unions plan more protests against them, the head of the country’s largest labor federation CGIL said on Wednesday.

CGIL leader Susanna Camusso told Reuters that Prime Minister Mario Monti’s government was “deeply conditioned” by its need for support from the party of his predecessor, Silvio Berlusconi, and its austerity plan spared the rich and demanded excessive sacrifices from ordinary Italians.

“We see every risk of a social explosion,” Camusso said in an interview, warning that anger was rising over a pension reform she said was unnecessary, measures that cut already weak purchasing power and a worsening labor market.

The left-wing CGIL and the two smaller and more centrist unions, CISL and UIL, are holding a series of strikes this week to protest against the 33 billion euro plan that aims to shore up public finances and combat Italy’s debt crisis.

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