Minister flees from temporary public employee

Renato Brunetta, pic. ilmessagero.it

The Italian Minister for Public Administration has come under fierce fire after having snubbed and fled from a temporary public administration worker on Tuesday.
Mr Renato Brunetta, economist and former Euro-MP, was angered by a conference attendee in Naples when she presented herself as a ‘temporary worker in the public administration’. No sooner had she said these words that Brunetta fled the stage and the conference saying that such workers were ‘the worst of Italy’ (il peggio Italia), implying they do nothing but complain about their position as precari. One such worker then attempted to stop his governmental car leaving the site but was dragged away by conference organisers.
Brunetta – often derided for his diminutive stature – later declared that he had been the subject of a ‘media attack’ and a ‘planned ambush’. Protests poured onto the minister’s facebook page as the news and an amateur video of the incident quickly spread throughout the internet.
The plight of the precari in Italy has long been a sticky issue for the government in a country where the posto fisso – stable job – is considered sacred, especially in the public sector. Trade union CGIL states that there are currently some 240,000 temporary work contracts in force in the public sector, including teachers, half of which will be lost by the end of the year as they will not be renewed due to government cuts. Precari (a word which means both ‘temporary’ and ‘in danger of finishing’) have lower salaries, poorer conditions and little hope for a more stable future and are unable to obtain loans even for the purchase of domestic goods, let alone a house mortgage or setting up and maintaining a family, it is said.
During his time as a minister Mr. Brunetta has brought sweeping reforms to the public sector including cutting sick pay, cancelling work incentives and allowing more private sector intervention. In a live TV interview earlier in the week he had said that young people who complain about not being able to find a job should “head to their local fruit market and start unloading crates instead of complaining”! Echoes of Norman Tebbit’s “get on your bike” in Thatcher’s 80s Britain?

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