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Monday, 15 April, 2002, 12:10 GMT 13:10 UK
Italy media on strike
Demonstrators converge in Rome
More than a million took part in last month's protest
Italian newspaper and news agency journalists have gone on strike, one day ahead of Tuesday's general strike in which up to 12 million workers are expected to down tools.

The journalists do not want newspapers to appear on the day of the mass action, which is expected to be the biggest in the country for 20 years.


You don't start a general strike lightly - it's the first since 1982

Union leader Sergio Cofferati
The strike has been called in protest at changes to Italy's labour law, which would deprive sacked workers of automatic reinstatement if a tribunal found they had been unjustly fired.

At the weekend industrialists meeting in Parma accused the one-year-old government of Silvio Berlusconi of moving too slowly on labour reforms and changes to the pension and tax systems.

Italy's three biggest unions - representing the left, the centre and the Catholic labour movement - are backing the strike.

Dialogue promise

More than one million people took part in a demonstration last month, which was seen as a possible sign of the rebirth of the Italian left as a force capable of challenging the government.

The strikers are opposed to government plans for pension and tax reform as well as the labour reform.

Silvio Berlusconi
Berlusconi: Under pressure from workers and bosses
Mr Berlusconi said on Saturday that social dialogue would resume after the stoppage.

The millionaire prime minister wants to abandon the traditional habit of submitting government projects to both sides of industry before presenting them to parliament.

Italy's industrialists have so far supported the government's attempts to make the Italian economy more competitive, but their weekend conference showed signs of impatience

Some radio and television journalists are expected to join the industrial action on Tuesday.

The three channels of the state television company, RAI, will broadcast mainly films and musical programmes.

Two news programmes will be broadcast without live pictures.

See also:

15 Apr 02 | Europe
Italy's politicised strike
25 Mar 02 | Europe
The new messiah of Italy's left
24 Mar 02 | Europe
Analysis: Italy's labour dilemma
23 Mar 02 | Europe
Italian unions hail rally success
21 Mar 02 | Europe
Tragedy of a death foretold
20 Mar 02 | Europe
Ghosts return to haunt Italy
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