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Draghi sees unions amid tension with M5S

Minimum wage,tax wedge cut among Conte's demands to keep support

(ANSA) - ROME, JUL 12 - Premier Mario Draghi on Tuesday is seeing Italy's three big trade union federations amid government tension with the 5-Star Movement (M5S) which on Monday boycotted a Lower House vote on a COVID aid package decree.
    M5S leader and ex-premier Giuseppe Conte has presented Draghi with a list of policy demands he says must be answered to gain the party's continued support for the national unity coalition backing the former European central banker's executive.
    Among these demands are two issues that will also feature highly on the talks with the CGIL, CISL and UIL unions: a minimum wage and a cut in the labour-tax wedge to help the 'working poor' and combat the cost-of-living crisis sparked by soaring energy bills amid the Ukraine war.
    National contract renewals to keep pace with inflation will also feature high on the agenda in the talks.
    CISL leader Luigi Sbarra said before the meeting with Draghi that "we must safeguard the purchasing power of wages and pensions which are now being crushed by the uncontrolled rise in prices," with inflation at a record 8%.
    The hope of Draghi, who reported to President Sergio Mattarella on the political situation Monday night, is to get the M5S back in line before Thursday's Senate vote of confidence on the aid decree.
    The government can survive without the M5S's support but if they withdrew from the ruling coalition there would probably be a reshuffle at least, with early elections an outside bet, political experts say.
    Former M5S leader and Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio, who recently split from the movement to form his own smaller breakaway party Together for the Future (IpF), said Tuesday of his former colleagues: "You don't address citizens' problems by threatening the government".
    The two centre-right parties who are in government, ex-premier Suilvio Berlusconi's centre-right Forza Italia (FI), and the rightwing League party of former interior minister Matteo Salvini, have called for a "verification" of the state of support for the governing coalition.
    Salvini is continuing a push that has caused a new source of friction within Draghi's coalition by calling on alliance partners the M5S and the Democratic Party (PD) to drop bills on easing laws against the use of cannabis and making it easier for migrants' children to obtain Italian citizenship.
    Although the bills have not been presented by the government, Salvini says parliament should be focusing on other issues, such as the cost-of-living crisis.
    Salvini told Affaritaliani.it that, while the League does not want to pull its support for Draghi's government, it was worried about the "continual provocations of the PD and the M5S.
    "While Italian people have problems with salaries that are too low and bills that are too high, the left is blocking parliament in order to legalize drugs and give citizenship to immigrants.
    "It's madness, an insult not just to the League, but also to millions of citizens who are in difficulty".
    The cannabis bill would make it possible for people to cultivate up to four cannabis plants for personal use The 'ius scholae' bill would enable the children of migrants who are born in Italy or who entered the country before they are 12 and have lived and attended school here for at lest five years to obtain citizenship.
    At the moment children of migrants have to wait until they are 18 to apply for Italian citizenship, even if they were born here.
    PD bigwig Graziano Delrio told La Stampa that he did not see what the fuss was about, as the bills were nothing to do with the government. (ANSA).


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