Rome

Bersani blasts Monti's 'dangerous position' on union

Outgoing premier says left-wing CGIL blocked reform

Bersani blasts Monti's 'dangerous position' on union

Rome, January 24 - Centre-left leader Pier Luigi Bersani said Thursday that outgoing Italian Premier Mario Monti had adopted a "dangerous position" regarding the nation's biggest union, the leftwing CGIL. Monti said this week that it will be difficult for Bersani to rule if he wins next month's election because of the influence his centre-left Democratic Party (PD) allows the CGIL to have, He also said governing will be tough because of the election pact the PD has formed with the leftwing SEL party. Monti, who is standing for office on a reform platform backed by several centrist parties, reiterated his criticism of the CGIL Thursday, saying the union had stood in the way of some of the reforms his emergency technocrat government tried to introduce since taking power in November 2011. The CGIL was against many of Monti's measures and the opposition it and the PD presented to a controversial reform of the labour market led to it being watered down. "The labour market reform did not go far enough," Monti said at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. "It's the fault of one trade union that decisively resisted change and did not sign an agreement that the others signed. This culture should change". Bersani, whose alliance is ahead in the polls but has seen ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi's centre-right coalition make big inroads into the lead in recent weeks, said Monti was wrong about the influence the CGIL had on the PD and suggested the former European commissioner had an arrogant attitude. "It's ridiculous to attribute the CGIL with command of the PD," Bersani said on state broadcaster Rai. "It amazes me that someone like Monti follows these things that are blown up by the right. When you are in government, all the unions are your children. "And the CGIL is a union with a million members. This position is dangerous... "We are a party of the people that does not look at them from above, but eye to eye". The CGIL got some support in the debate from an unexpected source when Giorgio Squinzi, the head of Italy's powerful industrial employers's association Confindustria, said that the union was not "an obstacle to reforms or interventions for growth". "We are all in the same boat, in the middle of a perfect storm, so we all have to row in the same direction," Squinzi added.

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