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'Great project' of generational change for civil service

Retirements, reforms with little trauma, minister tells House

02 April, 16:27
'Great project' of generational change for civil service (ANSA) - Rome, April 2 - The government is developing "a great project" of generational change within the civil service that it hopes will encourage senior employees to take early retirement and open positions for young people, Civil Service Minister Marianna Madia said Wednesday.

The process should lead to a "non-traumatic" process of reducing employee numbers while encouraging renewal through the "fresh skills" of a younger generation of workers, Madia told a Lower House committee on constitutional affairs and labour.

"We believe that the administration cannot afford to, nor needs to, block (staff) turnover," in the public sector, Madia said.

Failure to renew the public service could mean "only agony," she added.

The government has been particularly focused on providing jobs for Italians under 25, a demographic where the jobless rate in February reached 42.5% compared with an average unemployment of 13% across all age brackets.

Madia added that she has begun to meet with organized labour groups to debate the government project.

However, last week she warned that there may not be enough time to undertake extensive discussions with labor unions over the plan, "because we're working under very tight deadlines," Madia said.

"We've asked the unions to propose alternatives to the plan," she said last week. The government's spending czar, Carlo Cottarelli, has identified at least five billion euros he says can be cut from the Italian budget in the next eight months, including savings from eliminating thousands of public-sector jobs.

However, Premier Matteo Renzi has said that is not the final figure, and the government will pick and choose from Cottarelli's list that includes savings on pricey, top-level pensions, bloat in the healthcare sector, expensive military spending, and red tape in general.

Meanwhile, some union leaders have expressed frustration with the government's rush to public-service reforms, saying politicians are ignoring all other voices.