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'Article 18 just an ideological totem' says Renzi

'Pointless' to debate contentious 1970 labor law says premier

'Article 18 just an ideological totem' says Renzi

Art. 18: Renzi, è totem ideologico, dibattito inutile ++ Rome, August 12 - Article 18 of Italy's workers statute is just a symbol, and debating it is a pointless exercise, center-left Premier Matteo Renzi said Tuesday in an interview on State broadcaster RAI 3. His comments came after Interior Minister Angelino Alfano, who comes from the New Center Right (NCD) party, on Monday called for the abolition of Article 18 of the 1970 Workers Statue, a law that forbids companies with over 15 employees from firing people without just cause. The measure is highly unpopular with business and has been blamed by some for adding to unemployment by discouraging hiring. "Article 18...is just a symbol, an ideological totem," the premier told Millennium program. "Debating whether or not to abolish it is a futile exercise". Renzi's right-wing allies called for abolition of the contentious measure in Italy's labour law to be on the agenda at the next cabinet meeting at the end of this month, when ministers are slated to debate Renzi's Unblock Italy measures to boost productivity and untangle red tape in the struggling Italian economy, which is again in recession. The premier went on to say that he will not accept economic input from the center-right party of Silvio Berlusconi, with which he stipulated a deal to collaborate on election law reform. "I read everyone's dossiers and suggestions," Renzi said. "But our deal only covers two points: Constitutional reform and the electoral law". Reforming Italy's current electoral law, which has been ruled unconstitutional, is Renzi's next big battle when summer recess ends.

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