Leader Matteo Salvini gathered the 76 members of staff at the Northern League building to announce the job cuts, La Stampa reported.
“We are money-poor but rich in ideas and consensus. For this reason we have decided to cut party spending and draw on our very generous voluntary service,” he was quoted as saying.
“We want to give the maximum help to workers and activists that have stood by the League until today,” he added.
The news sparked an angry response from staff at the meeting, with shouts of “You’ve swindled the money!” and “You’ve grown rich at our expense!”
One of the guards at the building said he was “enraged” by the news. “We don’t even know how to keep the headquarters open if they lay people off,” he told the newspaper.
But Alessandro Morelli, director of the Northern League’s Radio Padania, described the move as a “painful” but necessary choice.
“It’s better to intervene immediately, before it’s too late,” he was quoted as saying.
A trio of labour unions – CGIL, CISL and UIL – are expected to launch procedures against the decision within two weeks.