Italy strike risk

Claire Murphy

ITALY'S largest trade union federation has threatened to call a one-day general strike next month in protest against the government's €24bn austerity package.

Italian President Silvio Berlusconi said yesterday that the cuts were necessary to defend the euro. Guglielmo Epifani, leader of the left-wing CGIL federation, also called for protests in Rome on June 12 by public sector workers who face a three-year freeze on wages as part of the €24.9bn deficit-cutting measures. The union's leadership will meet in the second week of June to reach a final decision.