Italy union head accuses Renzi of seeking confrontation

Italy's Prime Minister Matteo Renzi speaks during a meeting on the sidelines at a Europe-Asia summit (ASEM) in Milan October 17, 2014. REUTERS/Alessandro Garofalo

Interior Minister Angelino Alfano told parliament that Italy faced “difficult weeks ahead” but he sought to calm tensions with a statement that the right to protest would be guaranteed.

“We have to make sure that this difficult moment of crisis does not become an involuntary spark that sets off tensions that could spin off dangerously,” he said.

Camusso, a former archaeology student who began her union career in the 1970s, has been one of the fiercest critics of the 39-year-old Renzi since his drive to scrap job protections for full-time workers as part of a wider Jobs Act.

In many ways an embodiment of the traditional left that Renzi has sought to consign to the scrap heap, she said a mass demonstration last Saturday, in which up to one million people protested against the labour reforms, was a sign that discontent was growing.

However she denied that the union saw itself as political opponents of the government or in alliance with leftist dissidents in Renzi’s centre-left Democratic Party.

“We are not trying to create a new political movement or a party, we just represent the rights of workers,” she said.

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