“Reforms” to the pension’s system passed by the Italian parliament last week will “make doctors work until they are 66 and in some cases beyond, even as night shifts become more and more frequent because of the recruitment freeze in the health service,” says secretary of the medics section of the CGIL trade union confederation Massimo Cozza, who, together with colleagues from hospitals across the country joined today’s public sector strike in Italy.
“Do you really want a 66 year old carrying out a night-time emergency operation?” Cozza asks, adding that the measure, part of the Euros 30bn austerity budget given the green light by the lower house of parliament on Friday, will mean depriving young doctors of work.
Instead, the “technocrat” government of former European Commissioner Mario Monti should focus on helping young medics, for example by giving job security to 10,000 of them on temporary contracts. “They want older doctors to make sacrifices while giving nothing to the younger generation.”
The government’s austerity budget has been the subject of massive protests organised by unions.
The measures, including cuts to pensions, new taxes hitting middle and lower incomes hardest and cuts to public services and welfare, will make workers, pensioners and public servants pay the price of turmoil in financial markets across the globe caused by out-of-control bankers, and the failure of successive administrations in Rome to tap the enormous wealth of the rich and corporations who evade a minimum of Euros 120 billion in taxes every year.
Today’s strikes follows widespread industrial action in the private sector last week, and with Monti already promising further neo-liberal measures, including “hire and fire” reforms to labour law, unions have promised mobilisations will continue into the New Year.