Demonstators hold a banner reading "Jobs Act = Bad Jobs"
Roma - AFP
Italy's biggest trade union said Wednesday it will hold a general strike on December 12 to protest Prime Minister Matteo Renzi's planned reforms to the job market, which critics say will stamp on workers' rights.
The left-wing CGIL said it was striking along with members of the smaller UIL union and would organise demonstrations up and down the country.
The main focus of union anger has been Renzi's plans for a shake-up of Italy's labour market via the so-called Jobs Act currently going through parliament.
The draft legislation is designed to make it easier for companies to hire and fire -- a step the government argues will lead to higher employment levels over time.
Unions have also been angered by the Renzi government's plans to cut state spending to help ensure that Italy meets European Union budget deficit targets.
The austerity elements of a package that also includes tax cuts for the poor and employers have increased recently as a result of the economy teetering on the brink of a third recession in six years.
The strike was initially tipped to take place on December 5, but Renzi's allies were quick to point out that the unions had hedged against a low turnout by proposing to hold it at the start of a long holiday weekend (the Monday, December 8, is a public holiday).