Former Fiat employee Marco Cusano was tied to a makeshift cross outside the plant in Pomigliano d'Arco, Naples province, helped by supporters who had also lost their jobs at the carmaker.
He balanced below a “Jobs Act is the end of rights” sign, referring to the government’s labour law reform which makes it easier for employees to hire and fire workers.
“This will not be the crucifixion of the working class on the altar of capitalism in crisis. No!” the group wrote on Facebook following the protest, criticizing the “bourgeoisie” and “state repression”.
Mimmo Mignano, an ex-Fiat worker joining in the protest, said the cross had been picked as a “symbol of the crucifixion of the workers”.
He and his colleagues lost their jobs in June 2014, ahead of the Jobs Act winning the approval of lawmakers.
“We’re not just doing this for us, but for the thousands of other workers” who could lose their jobs as a result of the new law, Mignano told The Local.
The group also requested an audience with Sergio Mattarella, who was sworn in as Italy’s new president on Tuesday morning.
Unemployment in Italy currently stands at 12.9 percent overall, yet it is a youth jobless rate of 42.0 percent which served as a key driver for the Jobs Act.
In creating a more flexible labour market, the government intends to boost employment among young Italians while also making Italy a more attractive market for foreign investors.
The move by Prime Minister Matteo Renzi has, however, been met with widespread protest, by workers such as Cusano who believe the government is stripping them of their labour rights.