Nationwide general strike in Italy leads to violent clashes

Violent clashes erupted between demonstrators and riot police in Italy as the Prime Minster pledged to push forward with labour reform set to make it easier for workers to be laid off.

As a nationwide strike in protest disrupted the country, pictures show police officers in riot gear charge protesters who threw firecrackers and other objects in some cities, including Milan and Turin.

Thousands of protesters clashed with police in Milan, where students dressed as Santa Claus jumped the fence at a regional government office building…

Note: The government wants the same conditions we have always had in the Anglo world: you might get fired, and in particular, you might get laid off, simply because the employer cannot afford to keep you on. The continental system is much beloved by workers — what’s not to like about a system that makes it very difficult to even lay people off?

But the net effect is that employers are exceedingly careful about hiring, since it so hard to reverse. On the continent, the system we know so well is referred to as “brutal Anglo-Saxon capitalism.” It is one of the reasons that the UK is popular for immigrants because it is so much easier to get a job.

To reform the system, the government wants to phase it out: the older workers are protected as before, the new one are not. It seems grotesquely unfair to the new workers, who are protesting.  Yet the economy is not competitive as it is.