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Renzi says parts of labour decree 'untouchable'

Forza Italia willing to accept the bill without changes

28 March, 18:58
Renzi says parts of labour decree 'untouchable' (ANSA) - Rome, March 28 - Italian Premier Matteo Renzi on Friday told a meeting of his center-left Democratic Party (PD) that his government is pressing ahead with a labour-reform decree, including two "untouchable" points, regardless of opposition.

"(New rules on) fixed-term contracts and apprenticeships are two untouchable points," Renzi warned his caucus, including members who are expressing discontent with the decree.

It sets out measures to establish a fixed-term three-year contract that could be used across the country, as well as new measures on apprenticeships.

It began its passage through the Lower House on Thursday with hearings scheduled for next week before returning for a vote in mid-April. But some members of the centre-left PD and unions have expressed opposition, saying that the decree will increase job insecurity for Italians, and some are already presenting amendments.

"I have read the messages and ultimatums on labour, of which I understand little," Renzi said. "It is not something in pieces, it is a package". In contrast to PD criticisms, the opposition centre-right Forza Italia says it will support the decree, highlighting the turmoil in Renzi's PD over the measures.

FI House Whip Renato Brunetta said that his party, founded by ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi, will approve the decree without any changes, because it is line with FI thinking.

"This is, in fact, a Berlusconi decree on labour," Brunetta said in a Twitter post.

Labour Minister Giuliano Poletti recently said that he intended to listen to all positions on the decree - but that the government would make the final decision.

Renzi brushed off union opposition, suggesting that organized labour may not be effective at ensuring job creation, judging by the rising rate of joblessness under the current labour policies.

"We have gone from 25% to over 40% youth unemployment," demonstrating the need for change, said Renzi.