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Renzi 'will have Jobs package ready before Merkel meeting'

Premier says govt will have 'clear ideas' for March summit

26 February, 11:37
Renzi 'will have Jobs package ready before Merkel meeting' (see related) (ANSA) - Treviso, February 26 - New Italian Premier Matteo Renzi said Wednesday that his government will have a package of labour reforms and job-boosting measures ready before a bilateral summit with German Chancellor Angela Merkel next month.

The package will be based on the measures in the Jobs Act the leader of the Democratic Party (PD) proposed last month before he became premier. Renzi has described Italy's unemployment rates, which have climbed to over 12%, with over four in 10 under-25s out of work, and are forecast to stay high even though the country is slowly emerging from its longest postwar recession, as "merciless and devastating".

He has also said Italy needs to show leadership in the European Union and push for a new path based on promoting employment and economic growth after years of austerity policies sponsored by Berlin. "Between now and March 17, when we'll have the bilateral meeting with Angela Merkel, we'll get our ideas clear about the work plan and we'll go to the meeting with the Jobs Act largely ready," Renzi said during a meeting in Treviso with local government representatives, including Veneto Governor Luca Zaia.

One of the main aims of Renzi's Job Act would be to simplify Italy's labour system, eliminating many parts of the current myriad of work contracts and lay-off benefits.

A key proposal of the package Renzi announced last month, before unseating his PD colleague Enrico Letta as premier and taking the helm of government, is to have single employment contract with job protection measures growing with seniority.

As things are, older workers with regular contracts tend to enjoy extremely high levels of job protection, while young people are often forced to accept temporary contracts or other forms of freelance employment that guarantee them few rights and little job security.

The current system has been blamed for making firms reluctant to hire, as it is so hard for them to dismiss workers once they are on the books, and contributing to the high levels of joblessness, especially among the young.