Letta says nothing off limits to boost jobs

Premier asked about changing workers' rights

Letta says nothing off limits to boost jobs

Rome, December 23 - Premier Enrico Letta said Monday that nothing will be off limits when the government talks to the parties supporting the executive on ways to combat unemployment in January. "All that helps new jobs will be welcome," Letta said when asked if there could be changes to legislation on workers rights, "as long as it's good employment, not without rights". Letta's left-right executive is set to hold talks with the parties in the new year on a policy pact to ensure the government does not get bogged down with bickering between the different groups. Florence Mayor Matteo Renzi, the new leader of Letta's centre-left Democratic Party (PD), has suggested making it easier for firms to fire employees, a move many experts say would actually encourage them to hire people. In compensation Renzi has suggested making unemployment benefits available for longer and to more people. The unemployment rate in recession-battered Italy has reached record levels of 12.5% and over four in 10 young people under 25 are out of work. "We have to take this opportunity to break the vicious circle of youth unemployment," said Letta during his end-of-year press conference. The emergency technocrat administration of Letta's predecessor, Mario Monti, tried to introduce reforms to make Italy's labour market more dynamic, but it watered these down following opposition from Italy's largest trade union, the leftwing CGIL, and from then PD chief Pier Luigi Bersani.

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