Renzi - reform is “now or never”

BRESCIA – Prime Minister Renzi tells unions that economic reform will happen as violent protests take place outside the building.

 Whilst Renzi spoke with Industrial Union chiefs in Brescia on Monday Morning, around 200 protestors attempted to break the police cordon around the building. Two officers were injured in the furore, one from the police and one carabiniere. 

 The protests were part of a national industrial workers’ strike. Local union Chief Domenico Galletti said that, “workers from five or six local companies are striking today.”

 The demonstration became unstable as a group of protestors deviated from the planned march route to go closer to the Palazzoli office building, which hosted the industrial assembly. Throwing eggs, smoke bombs, stones and glass bottles, the crowd was unsuccessful in gaining access to the building.

These latest protests follow the public outrage caused last week by police violence against protestors in Rome on Wednesday.

 Labour unions have failed to come to an agreement with the government over the controversial Jobs Act, which will remove some existing legislation for unfair dismissal protection. Renzi faces a potential political revolt from some members of his Democratic Party when the Act goes to a vote in the lower house of parliament, having already passed in the Senate. 

 In his speech on Monday morning, Renzi said, “If we do now, what we are capable of doing, in a few years Italy will be the engine of Europe. But we need to have the courage to say that the time of putting things off is over: it is now or never. This is the sense of urgency which motivates me and my government.”

 The protests on Monday morning also coincided with a nationwide nurses’ strike. The secretary of the Nurses’ Union Nursind, Andrea Bottega, warned that only emergency patients would be guaranteed care, with other less urgent work being put off until Tuesday.

 The strike has been called to protest poor wages and cut backs in staffing levels, resulting, Bottega says, in “an ever-increasing number of unemployed nurses, particularly young people, there are around 25,000.”   

 Doctors are also expected to strike on Saturday Nov 8 when various trade unions are due to stage a national public workers’ strike.