ROME (Reuters) - Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti said on Thursday he was confident he had public backing for his labor reform proposals and believed political parties would continue to support his technocrat government in parliament.
"I am very confident that the country will continue to understand and the parties which have supported the government will continue to do so," Monti told Reuters in an interview.
The former European Commissioner has run into a wave of criticism from unions, employers and the main parties which back him in parliament over the reforms, which would ease restrictions on companies firing individual employees.
The proposals now face a battle to get through parliament and Monti said he would not rule out the use of a confidence vote, which would force parties to back him or see him resign, to get the proposals through.
"It may be helpful, it would not be an exceptional instrument, we have used it several times in the past four and a half months," he said.
He said companies had nothing to fear from a compromise on the reform proposals, announced on Wednesday, which would give courts scope to order the reinstatement of workers judged to have been dismissed without justification.
He said the change, which softens earlier proposals that would not have allowed reinstatement, would affect only a very small number of cases.
Reporting By James Mackenzie and Giselda Vagnoni