Up to one million workers marched in Rome on Saturday against finance minister Giulio Tremonti’s deficit reduction plans. He is forcing through a £22 billion cuts package—but is facing huge resistance.
This protest is an important step, particularly in light of the attacks aimed at Italian workers from the government and big business.
The metal workers’ FIOM union called the protest. FIOM leader Maurizio Landini made a blistering attack on the government’s economic policies, focusing on carmaker Fiat’s threats to make thousands of workers redundant.
Under pressure from workers chanting, “Strike, strike, strike”, Landini said—“We have to continue this battle and to continue it we need to start planning a general strike.”
Seven chartered trains and 70 buses brought students and workers to the protest. The CGIL union also supported it and their president spoke on the platform.
Splits in the workers’ movement have jeopardised unity so far. Two other unions representing Fiat workers have signed a deal agreeing to new terms, leaving FIOM to fight alone. This protest could be the beginning of a more united movement against the cuts.