Italy's Trade Union Confederation has overwhelmingly endorsed a plan to hold down wages over the next three years, provided employers attempt to halt rising unemployment and industrial recession.
LV INT: Giorgio Benvenuto, leader of the Socialist union (UIL) speaking in Italian at a Trade Union Federation congress in Rome. (2 SHOTS)
SV: Delegates applaud.
GV: Luciano Lama, leader of the Communist trade union (CGIL) applauded as he walks to dais and starts speaking in Italian.
GV: Lama continues speaking and delegates listening. (2 SHOTS)
SV: Delegates applaud.
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Background: Italy's Trade Union Confederation has overwhelmingly endorsed a plan to hold down wages over the next three years, provided employers attempt to halt rising unemployment and industrial recession. This was announced in Rome on Tuesday (14 February) at the end of a two-day congress attended by delegates of three main unions. The congress called for a concerted effort towards a new economic order in Italy.
SYNOPSIS: The leader of the Socialist union (UIL), Giorgio Benvenuto, was one of the key speakers at the congress, which was attended by about 500 delegates, from all over Italy. Their meeting came as Prime Minister designate, Giulio Andreotti, was putting the final touches to a 40-page programme he will be sending to political parties, in an attempt to form a government after a month of negotiations. Over the two days, the unions defined their conditions for supporting any new government, including measures to find jobs for the one point six million unemployed.
Before the congress, the leader of the Communist union (CGIL), Luciano Lama, had called for a change in union policy involving a more realistic approach to labour mobility and wage claims. This was the first time a union leader had admitted that it was sometimes necessary to ask the working class to make sacrifices. London's financial Times said that if the union leadership's economic policy was accepted at shop floor level it would mark a substantial improvement in Italian industrial relations. It added, however, that there were growing signs within the movement over the leaderships proposals. Some 60 amendments had been put forward by delegates. The rank and file were particularly concerned over labour mobility.
Delegates were also said to be opposed to the containment of new wage claims.