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The CGIL and UIL unions organized around 100 demonstrations nationwide, joined by students in various cities such as Rome and Milan.
On Friday, thousands of citizens took to the streets in the central cities of the country in support of the strike called by the Italian General Confederation of Labour (CGIL) and Italian Labour Union (UIL) against the 2024 budget proposed by Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni.
The transportation strike, which excluded the aviation sector and cities such as Milan or Naples, was initially planned for eight hours. However, Vice President Matteo Salvini ultimately forced a reduction to four hours, from 9:00 to 13:00. This led to protests from the unions.
"We cannot and will not stop until we see results. We strike because we do not want the country to collapse due to the government. We defend the country," said Maurizio Landini, the CGIL secretary, from the rally stage in Rome's Piazza del Popolo.
The Meloni administration approved budgets for the next year with measures totaling around 24 billion euros, including cuts in labor taxes. However, Italian unions argue that tax reductions alone are not enough to address citizens' problems as prices continue to rise.
The text reads, "The general strike is a splendid response to the indecent attack on the right to strike that the Meloni administration has been carrying out in an unprecedented manner in recent weeks."
"All squares are filled like we haven't seen in years. This day is the most beautiful, strong, intelligent, and firm response they could give to those who thought about challenging the right to strike," Landini said.
"This square is a democratic response to people who are suffering. It is a response to those who behave as institutional bullies. Workers must be respected," said UIL Secretary Pierpaolo Bombardieri in Rome.
The CGIL confirmed that 100 percent of transportation workers in ports participated in today's strike, involving 80 percent of logistics workers. The labor unions organized around 100 demonstrations nationwide, joined by students in various cities such as Rome and Milan.
In recent weeks, Italian indignation has been increasing not only because of the deterioration of the economic situation but also because of far-right Vice President Salvini's attempts to undermine the right to strike enshrined in the Italian constitution.