di Marcello Mento
(see related stories) Terni, November 14 - CGIL chief Susanna Camusso on Wednesday blasted the austerity policies pursued by Italian Premier Mario Monti's government as disastrous on the continent-wide European Day of Action and Solidarity. "The Monti government is now a year old and it has been a year of disasters and of no answers to the world of work," said Camusso, whose union confederation, Italy's biggest, is leading anti-austerity protests here. "It's a year that has removed confidence and hope from the young people of the country," she added in the Umbrian town of Terni, where she was taking part in one of some 100 demonstrations being held throughout Italy. "Don't keep telling us there's light at the end of the tunnel. The truth is needed". CGIL called on its members to stage a one-day strike to protest against Monti's policies on Wednesday. The spending cuts and tax hikes Monti's emergency government of unelected technocrats has introduced since taking power after Silvio Berlusconi resigned as premier last year have deepened the country's recession. The left-wing CGIL has also been highly critical of some of the structural economic reforms the government has introduced, especially labour-market measures that make it easier for companies to fire staff. "Austerity is strangling labour and impoverishing the country, not shaping the future," said Camusso. "We are appealing to the government, which is slavishly following a line of austerity that is creating a very deep recession and taking away any hope of work". Camusso also criticised the two other big Italian trade-union confederations, CISL and UIL, which are more moderate and did not call strikes on Wednesday. "You shouldn't run away from the (protests on the) streets," she said.