Italian portworkers have clashed with police in a number of protests following the announcement of sweeping job cuts.
The job cuts constitute part of the Berlusconi government's latest round of austerity measures. The state owned shipbuilder, Fincantieri, is imposing job cuts and changes to terms and conditions that will affect around a third of its employees - two and a half thousand workers.
These include forced early retirement, reduced hours and job moves. The portworkers union have reported that this will result in the closure of the historic shipyards at Sestri and Castellammare.
In response, portworkers have staged angry protests at a number of locations, which have resulted in clashes with management and police:
- Workers clashed with riot police outside government offices in Sestri, a northwestern suburb of Genoa. The protesters demanded to see the prime minister.
- At Castellammare di Stabia, near Naples, workers blockaded officials including the mayor and police chief in their offices overnight. According to the local press, the building was damaged by demonstrators, who also decapitated a nearby statue of Garibaldi, the Italian nationalist icon.
- Fincantieri portworkers also blockaded a highway near Sorrento in Campania.
The company has so far stated that the offered changes are "take it or leave it". Negotiations are scheduled with unions for the 3rd of June,