[Marxism] Italy Grinds to a Halt as 3 million Strike Against Austerity Plan

Greg McDonald gregmc59 at gmail.com
Mon Sep 12 18:42:14 MDT 2011


(The link has some good pics).

Italy grinds to a halt as 3 million strike against austerity plan
September 12, 2011 BJ Murphy Leave a comment Go to comments

By Nick Pisa and Oliver Pickup

Italy ground to a halt today as a general strike brought thousands –
if not millions – on to the street in protest at a belt-tightening
€45billion (£39.5bn) austerity package.

The strike was organised by the Italian General Confederation of
Labour (CGIL), the country’s biggest trade union, and saw disruption
to flights, buses, trains as well as hospitals, schools, post offices
and other government services.

Demonstrations were held in several cities across the country with
extra police being drafted in to stop any potential disorder but there
were still sporadic outbursts with eight officers hurt by fireworks.

Thousands of strikers took to the streets of Turin yesterday to
protest against the austerity plans mooted by the Italian government

Workers march in front of the Colosseum as they take part in a
demonstration organised by the left-wing General Confederation of
Italian Workers (CGIL) against the government's economic austerity
measures, in central Rome

The general-secretary of the CGIL, Susanna Camusso, addresses
protesters at the Colosseum in Rome

CIGL officials said that three million people had taken part in the
strike – which also affected the Amanda Knox appeal trial in Perugia
as jury members using public transport were held up.

The strike was supported by British trade union Unison chief Dave
Prentis who sent a letter backing the action, expressing the
‘solidarity’ of his members with ‘Italian workers’.

Mr Prentis added that politicians across Europe were in a ‘vicious
circle that was increasing as opposed to reducing public debt because
of austerity cuts.

Under-pressure: Prime minister Silvio Berlusconi, shown speaking last
month, is widely unpopular in Italy now - and his austerity plans are

What we and European trade unions are proposing as a way out of the
crisis is growth – that’s why we wish the best of luck to our
colleagues in CGIL in their fight.’

Italy, the third largest economy in the Eurozone, is teetering on the
edge of a Greek-style financial crisis with a debt approaching
£1trillion – 120 per cent of GDP.

The under-pressure prime minister, Silvio Berlusconi, has insisted the
best way to tackle the crisis is with the tough austerity package
which will see cuts in education, health and pay freezes.

But the proposed package has also been hit by backstabbing from within
his coalition as supposed allies protest at some of the cuts and to
appease them they are scrapped.

Initially there had been plans to move three national bank holidays to
Sundays to keep productivity going but this was dropped following a
national outcry.

Susanna Camusso, head of CGIL, said: ‘When you are on the edge of the
abyss, you have to take a step backwards.

‘This is a general strike against a budget measure which is totally
unjustified and as we have seen in the past few hours totally

Protesters who gathered in central Rome unfurled a banner that said:
‘Change the austerity package to give a future to the country – more
growth, more employment, more development.’

One of the most affected areas was Rome airport which saw hundreds of
flights cancelled and long queues at airline information desks as
passengers tried to find out how to get away.

Millions of Italians are holding a day-long strike against the
government's latest austerity measures

Workers march and hold flags during a demonstration organised by the
CGIL against the government's economic austerity measures

People take part in a protest of the Italian USB union and against the
plans to chop ¿45bn from the economy

Ryanair said that 200 of its flights were cancelled across the country
as a result of the strike with pilots and crew joining the walkout as
well as ground staff and some air traffic controllers.

Trains and buses were also hit and traffic, which is chaotic at the
best of times in Italy, was made even worse as people used cars to get
to work or take children to school.

Production was also affected at Fiat plants across the country with 25
per cent of the workforce taking part and newspapers were also hit
with presses stopping printing.

Italian markets which have suffered huge losses over the last few days
were also significantly down as well with the Milan stock exchange
showing a drop of more than 2 per cent.

Tonight extra police were also drafted in to protect the Italian
Senate where the package was to be debated after paint and smoke bombs
were hurled by marchers.

More information about the Marxism mailing list