Two men torch themselves in Italy as hardship bites

ROME Thu Mar 29, 2012 11:49pm IST

Related Topics

ROME (Reuters) - A Moroccan worker in Italy set himself on fire on Thursday in protest at not being paid for months, a day after an Italian businessman set himself alight over a tax dispute, police said.

The 27-year-old construction worker is recovering in hospital after dousing himself in petrol and lighting it outside Verona city hall in northern Italy, police said.

Police said the man told them he was desperate after not being paid for four months and running out of money.

On Wednesday, a 58 year-old businessman tried to commit suicide by setting himself on fire in his car outside a tax office in nearby Bologna. His appeal against a demand for thousands of euros in allegedly unpaid taxes had been rejected, according to Italian media reports.

He is being treated in hospital for severe burns.

The government of technocrat Prime Minister Mario Monti is cracking down on tax dodging, which authorities estimate deprives Italy of an around 120 billion euros a year.

Unions say austerity measures, including tax hikes, spending cuts and pension changes, weigh disproportionately on ordinary workers.

Vincenzo Scudiere from Italy's CGIL trade union said the construction worker's self-immolation was a "symptom of the utter exasperation felt by the weakest employees," and warned the government not to underestimate discontent among workers.

The government presented labour reforms last week which face tough opposition from unions that are planning protests and strikes against measures that will make it easier to fire staff.

Sandro Bondi from the large centre-right People of Freedom party said the crisis spared neither workers nor bosses.

"The tragic tale of the businessman ... should help people realise that the divisions between workers and businessmen are a fantasy of the past," he said.

(Reporting By Carlo Saccon and Catherine Hornby; Editing by Ben Harding)

FILED UNDER:
Comments (0)
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.

  • Most Popular
  • Most Shared

Fighting Ebola

Reuters Showcase

Fighting Ebola

Fighting Ebola

Citing security threat, Obama expands U.S. role fighting Ebola.  Full Article 

Brazil Polls

Brazil Polls

Brazil's Rousseff slips in poll ahead of October election.  Full Article 

Scotland Referendum

Scotland Referendum

Polls show Scottish opponents of independence with slight lead ahead of vote.  Full Article 

India-China ties

India-China ties

India and China look to put knotty relations on new footing.  Full Article 

Fighting IS

Fighting IS

U.S. NSA chief says monitoring tech-savvy Islamic State  Full Article 

Typhoon Kalmaegi

Typhoon Kalmaegi

Typhoon spares Hong Kong, but disrupts business.  Full Article 

Hungry World

Hungry World

World hunger easing but 1 in 9 people undernourished - food agencies.  Full Article 

Afghan Attack

Afghan Attack

Suicide car bomber kills 3 foreign troops in Afghan capital.  Full Article 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device.  Full Coverage