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Budget strike hits Italian capital transport links

Thursday, October 17, 2013 - 01:38

Oct. 18 - Transport workers in Italy have gone on strike over the government's controversial budget for 2014 which includes spending cuts and a freeze for public sector wages. Ciara Sutton reports.

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Transport chaos ruled in Rome on Friday with surprised commuters having to walk to work. Major strikes and protests by Italy's largest unions halted buses, trains and flights. They're calling for a renewal of contracts, increased wages and a reduction of working time. (SOUNDBITE) (Italian) PROTESTER, AIDA UTAGGIO, SAYING: "We are here to protest. Because they are demolishing the social state. We are tired, we are fed-up, we can't live this way. They are continuing to cut and ask for enormous sacrifices, only and exclusively from us. Enough is enough." Italy has been in a recession for over two years. The country's new budget, unveiled this week, has been attacked by employers, unions and most of Italy's media. And it hasn't gone down well within the already fragile government. Some senior politicians in Prime Minister Enrico Letta's ruling coalition party have virtually disowned the package. And former Prime Minister Mario Monti has quit over the plan. He says a group of senators from his party, which is part of the coalition, rejected his criticism of the budget, undermining his leadership. And never far from the action, Silvio Berlusconi faces a crucial vote next month on whether to expel him from parliament after his tax-fraud conviction. Commentators believe he could use the budget to justify a new bid to bring down the government. The fresh political tensions and growing public opposition could hamper reforms needed to help the euro zone's third largest economy recover. The budget must be approved by parliament by the end of the year. But the unions say expect further strikes.

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Budget strike hits Italian capital transport links

Thursday, October 17, 2013 - 01:38