[Contribution by Kees Hudig] - Last Friday, almost all of Italy was shut down by a strike (against the reform plans of the Berlusconi government) and students’ actions. Interestingly, the strike had not been called by the large trade unions, but by the sindicati di base, the grassroots unions (including cub and cobas).
At the same time, students and school children are running a ‘permanent mobilisation’ against the reform plans of the (strict Catholic) Education minister Gelmini. She is slashing the public education and research budgets and firing a large share of the part-time teachers.
The unions protest primarily against Brunetta’s reform plans, which will attack the public sector and lead to mass redundancies.
Friday’s strike was accompanied by large demonstrations (there were three in Rome, with a total of 300,000 participants). In Milano, 50,000 people hit the streets, mainly students and school children, and the Ministry of Education was raided, as well as the offices of the employers’ organisation.
A demonstration of 2,000 call centre workers ended in front of the stock exchange, where a new version of the theses of Luther was put up, with 95 theses on the economy and the crisis.
The most popular slogan among students and school children is "noi la crisi non la paghiamo!" ("we’re not going to pay for your crisis!").
Originally published at Globalinfo (in Dutch, more sources there)