Italian labour union chief promises general strike to protest govt move to make firing easier

ROME – Thousands of demonstrators have marched peacefully in Rome to protest the government’s intention to make it easier for companies to fire employees.

CGIL labour confederation leader Susanna Camusso told a rally on Friday that she will call a general strike if Premier Mario Monti’s government doesn’t back down.

The march through the heart of Rome, combined with a day-long strike by bus, tram and subway workers against austerity measures, complicated the morning commute in the Italian capital.

Transit workers also struck in other Italian cities. Both workers and employers contend Monti’s government has failed to spur jobs growth amid a stubborn recession. Monti, an economist, was appointed in November with the task of saving Italy from the European debt crisis.