Italy: Union prepares for referendum fight

Submitted by Anon on 19 March, 2003 - 10:00

On 10 March Italy's biggest trade union, CGIL, will begin the next stage of its campaign for four referendums to put to the public an alternative to the policies of the Berlusconi government.
The union has succeeded in collecting the five million signatures needed under Italy's constitution to force the government to hold a referendum.

The first of the referendums will be on the government's attempt to scrap Article 18 of Italy's labour code. Article 18 offers workers protection against unfair dismissal. There will be a second referendum on other government measures to "reform" the labour market, which the unions say will lead to more casualisation and less job security. These follow last year's General Strike against the scrapping of Article 18.

The other two referendums will be on positive proposals put forward by CGIL to reform the social security system and to extend workers' rights and access to education.

The five million signatures are being collected from around Italy and will be delivered to the president of the Italian senate on 10 March. But there may yet be a fight to come to make the referendums happen - and ensure that the government does not succeed in blocking them.

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