Italian students, precarious workers protest against government's reforms

GMT 14:50 2014 Saturday ,11 October

Arab Today, arab today Italian students, precarious workers protest against government's reforms

Italian students

 Thousands of students took to the streets in Italy on Friday to protest against major reforms implemented or planned by the government in recent months.
Precarious workers, especially from the education sector, accompanied the students' protest in Rome and other major cities throughout the country.
A movement for affordable housing also staged a demonstration in the capital city, with people rallying before the city's main courthouse in support of two fellow activists who had been arrested for clashing with police in 2013.
The two rallies caused significant disruption to Rome's traffic.
The biggest march started from Rome central train station and reached the Ministry of Education, with protesters crossing the heart of the historic centre. Some 20,000 students took part in this demonstration, according to organizers.
Students shouted slogans and showed banners against the school reform that Prime Minister Matteo Renzi's government is planning to implement, judging it as unfair, penalizing for public schools, and detrimental to their right to education.
Many students carried placards saying "the Great Beauty is us," referring ironically to 2014 Italian Academy Awards winning movie 'The Great Beauty.'
According to a blueprint on the reform unveiled by the cabinet in September, up to 3 billion euros (3.7 billion U.S. dollars) would be allocate in the next three years to give permanent contracts to 148,100 teachers currently working as precarious substitutes.
The reform would however impact rules of teacher career advancement in the public school system. The current model of automatic salary's increases, linked to seniority only, would be replaced with a system based on teachers' academic performance. Teachers would also become easier to move from school to school across the country.
The draft reform is still to be presented to the parliament.
Students and workers who took to the streets on Friday were firmly against these changes, and claimed allotted resources were not enough to overcome all deficiencies in schools and universities and to fill the gap with other developed European countries.
They also opposed more widely the cabinet's action with regards to the economic crisis and high unemployment. Much contested in the rallies was especially a draft law to reform the job market, which was passed by the Senate two days ago but has still to be discussed in the Lower House.
Other similar major events took place in Italy's economic hub Milan, in Turin, Bologna, Perugia, Palermo and Cagliari. No clashes or skirmishes were reported, even though students in Turin burned puppets resembling Renzi and other political figures.
Overall, some 80,000 people were estimated to be involved in the day of protest.

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