Italy's Biggest Union Calls February Strike

By Agence France-Presse The Italian General Confederation of Labor (CGIL), Italy's biggest trade union with more than 5.5 million members, plans to call a four-hour national strike against declining industrial output on Feb. 21, its secretary general Guglielmo Epifani said Jan. 13. Epifani said the strike, still needing ratification by Confederation leaders, would be called to protest "against the decline in Italian industry of which Fiat is an emblematic case." Epifani said Italian industry lacked a "risk culture" and that the policies of the conservative government would fail to spark the requisite competitiveness. Savino Pezzotta, leader of the country's second biggest union, the Italian Confederation of Workers' Trade Unions (CISL), criticized Epifani's union for failing to consult other unions on the issue. Fiat SpA, Italy's biggest private-sector company, is currently undergoing a deep restructuring involving asset sell-offs and more than 8,000 layoffs designed to revive its loss-making car business, Fiat Auto. Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2003

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