FLORENCE, ITALY – Florence is a tourist town, but most retailers do not agree on Sunday openings. Trade unions protested yesterday: they have demonstrated in major cities across the Country, also in Florence. Even the Catholic Church voiced its support on Sunday as part of a Europe-wide campaign against allowing more businesses to stay open on Sundays.
Susanna Camusso, the leader of Italy’s biggest trade union, CGIL, joined picketers outside a Rome shopping centre and there were similar demonstrations around the Country including street parties in Florence, Milan and Pisa.
Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti introduced a reform as part of an austerity package passed in December last year that allows businesses to decide their own working hours, including the possibility of 24-hour opening.
Italy’s three main trade unions, CGIL, CISL and UIL, which are already campaigning against government plans to make it easier to fire workers, said in a statement that Sunday openings would lead to “worse economic conditions.”
The mobilisation in Italy was part of the European Day for a Work-Free Sunday, a campaign called by the European Sunday Alliance, a network of trade unions, civil society organisations and religious communities.