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Sergio Cofferati, leader of Italy's main trade union CGIL, has outlined the union's labour reform proposals. He called for a collective national contract for freelance workers, the abolition of early retirement and training schemes for those laid off. He also added that these reforms should be funded by general taxation. Cofferati was speaking ahead of a general strike called by the unions to protest against government plans to reform Article 18 of the Workers' Statute to make sackings easier. The following is an excerpt from an interview given by Cofferati to daily La Repubblica on 2 April:
Rome: [Interviewer Giannini] Sergio Cofferati, the assassination of [deceased Labour Ministry aide and financial journalist, Professor] Marco Biagi has changed the very nature of the conflict between the government and the labour unions. Far from firming up the front in the name of some higher interest, the return of terrorism has provided further reasons for bickering.
[Cofferati] The recent tragedy forces all of us to engage in some in-depth reflection. Right now many parallels are being drawn between the terrorist attacks on [former Prime Minister De Mita aide assassinated in 1988, Roberto] Ruffilli, on [Italian Confederation of Trade Unions (CISL) economic think tank chief, assassinated in 1985, Ezio] Tarantelli, on [former Labour Ministry aide, assassinated in 1999, Professor Massimo] D'Antona, and on Biagi. There is a common factor: these professors all cooperated with the state in working out policies of [social] cohesion.
But there is also one important difference: while the first three were killed basically on account of what they had already done, Professor Biagi was killed on account of what he was currently doing. He was involved in complex and highly sensitive negotiations on Article 18 [in the Workers Statute].
That was why he was assassinated. Apart from the precedent of [former Prime …