Silvio Berlusconi manages to provoke the greatest unified strike in the last two decades in Italy, after proposing to reform Labour law which will reduce workers’ rights.
The law in question is Law Number 18 of the Statute of Workers. Until now, if a worker was dismissed without good reasons, and managed to prove it, he would automatically be reintegrated into his former workpost. Berlusconi now proposes to alter this law, giving the worker the right to an indemnity but not to his job.
Under the motto of greater flexibility and mobility in the workforce, Berlusconi echoes the words of Margaret Thatcher and her ministers, 15 years after the event. Thatcher’s years in the UK were marked by a total disregard for the needs of the average citizen, a contempt for the Trade Unions and social policies which defied logic, giving the most extreme form of liberal monetarism a free reign.
Berlusconi likes to quote Reagan and Thatcher, and as usual, he is two decades out of date. The result was a general strike on Tuesday which brought Italy to a standstill, both in protest at the current proposal to change the law and the failure to produce on his pre-electoral promises, forecast here in Pravda.Ru at the time.
This was the most significant strike in the last 20 years in Italy, Berlusconi managing to unite the country against him and his fascist partners in government. Where he goes from here depends on his ability to produce a constructive dialogue with the social partners.
Failure to do so will inevitably be his downfall. 13 million people are too many to be taken lightly.
Timothy BANCROFT-HINCHEY PRAVDA.Ru