Thursday, September 1, 2011

Italian unions mobilize against austerity plan

International Metalworkers' Federation
August 31 2011

The Italian metalworkers’ unions, FIOM, FIM and UILM mobilize against the government’s plans for cuts and retrenchments, that disproportionally hit workers and pensioners, while protecting the wealthy, overpaid politicians and high-ranking state officials. Sit-ins, rallies and a 8 hour general strike are planned for September 1-6.

ITALY: FIM and UILM, and their national centres CISL and UIL, demand the immediate withdrawal of the austerity measures concerning pensions, and will demonstrate in front of the Senate on September 1 against "inadequate measures that hit the usual victims instead of those who created the national debt." They urge the government to withdraw the pension measures, and to concentrate on combating tax evasion, on big fortunes and on the costs of the political system in order to remedy the lack of resources.

FIOM prepares a series of initiatives on September 5 and 6 against the government's plans, the attack on workers and on workers' rights. The national centre CGIL calls for an 8 hour national general strike on September 6 in all sectors to demand changes in the government's austerity plan of August 12. Rallies and demonstrations will be organized in all Italian counties.

The government's austerity plan is considered unequal and ineffective to counter the social, economic and financial crisis affecting Italy.

"The government's measures puts burdens only on workers' and pensioners' shoulders, cutting public sector wages, jobs and services, reducing public funds for municipalities and local authorities and imposing solidarity taxes only on incomes and revenues, preserving private property and wealth."

The government also interferes in industrial relations and divides the social partners, CGIL says, distorting the contents of the agreement on the representativeness recently reached between the main social partners. Without any economic and financial justification, it introduces rules to reduce individuals' protection against indiscriminate firings.

No provision to support growth and employment, particularly for young people, is included in the government package, says CGIL.

Instead of the government's austerity plan, the CGIL proposes several measures designed to boost growth and revenues, such as:

  • a structural plan to fight tax evasion, amounting to 130 billion euro per year
  • an extraordinary tax on large real estates, generating 12 billion euro
  • an ordinary tax on wealth over 800,000 euro, generating income of 15 billion euro
  • a reduction of the costs of the political system, politicians and public administrators, a wage ceiling for high-ranking state officials and reductions at public local companies that do not produce services - generating cost savings of up to 8.5 billion euro
  • a "Growth and innovation fund" to invest in the insertion of young people in the labour market
  • support for incomes, by reducing taxation for workers and pensioners.


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