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Senators back labour reforms amid protest

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Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi's controversial labour plans won the vote of confidence. Photo: Alberto Pizzoli/AFP
09:19 CEST+02:00
The Italian Senate was transformed into a battlefield ahead of a confidence vote on controversial labour reforms on Wednesday night, with politicians shouting, fighting and standing on tables in protest.

Gian Marco Centinaio, the Senate leader for Italy’s far-right Northern League, even hurled a book at Senate President Pietro Grasso, La Stampa reported.

But the raucous behaviour failed to derail Prime Minister Matteo Renzi’s so-called Jobs Act, with 165 senators voting in favour, while 111 were against and two abstained.

“Italians are tired of the theatrics of some senators,” he said after the vote.

“There is still bitterness because books were thrown…these are sad images for the citizens trying to make sense of it all.

“But we are moving forward,” Renzi added. “I am very happy with the result.”

Renzi also managed to crush a revolt in his Democratic Party over the plans, which will make it easier for companies to hire and fire.

The reforms are a key part of his plans to revive Italy’s economy, which is among the most stagnant in the eurozone.

The debate also saw the 39-year-old premier branded a "Thatcherite" for his proposal to scrap legislation that makes sacking long-term employees of companies with more than 15 staff complicated and, at times, prohibitively expensive.

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