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Minister tells Italians to skip lunch

Workers taking too long to eat, says Rotondi

23 November, 19:32
Minister tells Italians to skip lunch
Minister tells Italians to skip lunch
Minister tells Italians to skip lunch

(ANSA) - Rome, November 23 - Lunch breaks are a wrench in the workday gears, according to Government Programme Minister Gianfranco Rotondi on Monday who asked Italians to keep them short or skip them entirely.

During a popular Web show, Rotondi complained that the lunchtime ritual ''brings the country to a standstill'' and confessed ''I've never much cared for it myself''.

Like in many Mediterranean countries, lunch breaks in Italy range from one to two hours during which many shops and offices close up entirely.

''At the very least we could find a better way to distribute lunch breaks,'' said Rotondi.

The minister gave Germany as a good example, where he said employees working nine hours a day took 45 minutes at most.

''A recent study shows that most Germans work through their lunch breaks, while the English only take theirs three days out of five,'' he said.

Rotondi later clarified that he ''wasn't proposing the government abolish lunch breaks,'' but that he had abolished his own and suggested other Italians do likewise.

But he did suggest closing parliament's lunch buffet, a gourmet affair which costs the Italian government around five million euros per year.

''MPs eat too much, they get fat and that's unhealthy,'' said Rotondi.

The minister denied, however, that MPs had an easy job or worked less than average Italians.

''In fact, MPs work an awful lot,'' maintained the minister, who said the job was ''difficult and often frustrating, because there's never enough time for everything''.

''When you first get elected, you think you can change Italy. But after a few months of insults and debates, you start getting discouraged''. ''MPs aren't privileged,'' concluded Rotondi, calling the ''misconception'' hurtful both to politics and politicians.

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