Frequently issues such as unemployment and the economy are only reported when relevant to our own country. Long forgotten are the ideals from our past that we exist in one world, and the struggles of the world belong to us. Here is an example of how employment policies in Italy have forced mass protests, and an overview of the problems of the working class throughout Europe.
In July Italy’s jobless rate rose to 12.6 percent. Men held the highest percentage of unemployment as rates for youth declined. 31,000 jobs for men were lost; 4,000 for women since June.
October 25th witnessed over one million protesters filling the streets of Rome, with another 300,000 expected to arrive during the day. They are protesting the labor reforms of Prime Minister Matteo Renzi. CGIL is Italy’s largest labor union; their red banners and red balloons filled Piazza St. Giovanni Saturday. They were joined by two other unions the CSIL and UIL.
At issue are rules protecting workers on the job. The result would be increased unemployment and create an economic crisis resulting in increased poverty across the nation. Secondary issues are cuts in public services, causing additional hardships for families.
The employed and unemployed joined forces to criticize the efforts of Prime Minister Renzi to reduce the nation’s deficit at the cost of the working class. The protesters fear that the unemployment rate will increase and reach percentages nearing Europe’s highest.
The problems throughout Europe are due to both the ‘credit crunch’ and global recession. All of the nation’s leaders appear to be more concerned with appeasing the bond market than finding solutions to rising unemployment and the recession.
Europe’s highest unemployment rate belongs to Greece at 27.2 percent, closely followed by Spain at 24.5. Compare these to 6.5 in the United Kingdom. Japan boasts a modest 3.6 percent.
Here in the United States the rate sits around 6.8 percent. This does not reflect the quality of jobs, or the number of hours averaged by each employee. Many of our best jobs no longer exist within our borders, and 32 hours a week has become the norm for all too many heads of households.
The protests in Italy will continue on November 8th and 14th.
By James Turnage