Italian unions shut down basic services, march in 50 cities against govt economic reforms

Tens of thousands of union workers marched through more than 50 Italian cities on Friday to protest government economic reforms that they say erode their rights.

MILAN — Tens of thousands of union workers marched through more than 50 Italian cities on Friday to protest government economic reforms that they say erode their rights.

Non-union, anti-government protesters clashed with police in some cities, including Milan, where students dressed as Santa Claus jumped the fence at a regional government office building and threw bottles and other objects. Police dispersed that protest with tear gas; authorities said 11 officers were injured.

The general strike, which shut down basic services across Italy, is one of the largest by two of the nation’s most powerful union groups against a centre-left government, which had traditionally cozied up to unions. The strike created a patchwork of chaos as trains, buses, schools, ports and other services closed down.

Premier Matteo Renzi said the right to strike must be protected but insisted his tougher line is necessary to return the economy to growth and create jobs.

“The future belongs not to those who are afraid but those who have the courage and the desire to change,” Renzi told a business forum in Istanbul.

In a sign of discord within his own Democratic Party, some of its members joined the marches. Stefano Fassina, a former deputy economics minister, told Sky TG24 said it was important that someone from the party marched alongside the workers.

Susanna Camusso, the leader of CGIL, Italy’s largest union, led a protest march in the northern city of Turin, headquarters of carmaker Fiat and a symbolic city for the nation’s shrinking industrial might. She said changes need to be made “with and not against the people.”

The unions are protesting spending cuts and labour market reforms that will make it easier for companies to fire workers that Renzi has passed in a bid to attract foreign investment.

Just Posted

UPDATED: Shots fired in Riverside Meadows

Red Deer RCMP search for more suspects

Driver in fatal crash acquitted

A 19-year-old Red Deer woman was killed and another injured in June 2012 crash west of Bowden

Royal close shave: Prince William opts for dramatic buzz cut

LONDON — The hair on the heir is no longer quite so… Continue reading

Border wall models thwart US commandos in tests

SAN DIEGO — Recent assaults by tactical teams on prototypes of President… Continue reading

Man charged in presumed deaths of two missing Toronto men set to appear in court

TORONTO — A man charged with first-degree murder in the presumed deaths… Continue reading

WATCH: Alberta Party leadership candidates in Red Deer

Three people vying to be the leader of the Alberta Party were… Continue reading

In photos: Get ready for Western Canadian Championships

Haywood NorAm Western Canadian Championships and Peavey Mart Alberta Cup 5/6 start… Continue reading

WATCH: Red Deer city council debates cost-savings versus quality of life

Majority of councillors decide certain services are worth preserving

Got milk? Highway reopened near Millet

A southbound truck hauling milk and cartons collided with a bridge

Stettler’s newest residents overcame fear, bloodshed to come here

Daniel Kwizera, Diane Mukasine and kids now permanent residents

Giddy up: Red Deer to host Canadian Finals Rodeo in 2018

The CFR is expected to bring $20-30 million annually to Red Deer and region

Ice dancers Virtue and Moir to carry flag at Pyeongchang Olympics

Not since Kurt Browning at the 1994 Lillehammer Games has a figure… Continue reading

Beer Canada calls on feds to axe increasing beer tax as consumption trends down

OTTAWA — A trade association for Canada’s beer industry wants the federal… Continue reading

Most Read


Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month