Work­ers slam call to cut breaks

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - LIFE -

ROME: Ital­ians have ve­he­mently re­jected a cab­i­net min­is­ter’s pro­posal that lunch breaks be scrapped to in­crease pro­duc­tiv­ity, me­dia re­ported this week.

Gian­franco Ro­tondi, min­is­ter for pro­gramme im­ple­men­ta­tion, made the sug­ges­tion, say­ing, “The lunch break im­pairs work. It is a rit­ual which brings the whole coun­try to a halt.”

His state­ment pro­voked an out­cry. “But has Ro­tondi ever worked?” Com­mu­nist Party of­fi­cial Gianni Pagliarini asked iron­i­cally.

Ital­ians ques­tioned by tele­vi­sion sta­tions and news­pa­pers were also against the pro­posal.

“An en­emy at­tack on the rights of work­ers,” is how it was de­scribed in the Repub­blica daily by Michele Gen­tile, a leader in Italy’s largest labour union, CGIL, which has five mil­lion mem­bers.

“If it is be­hind the ob­scure wish to try to lengthen work hours or to in­crease pro­duc­tiv­ity, then we are against it. The lunch break has been a right for a long time,” he said.

“While we are at it, why don’t we do away with the an­noy­ing rit­ual of sleep,” added Gen­tile’s col­league Carlo Podda.

Nu­tri­tion­ists pointed to po­ten­tial dan­ger to health and pro­duc­tiv­ity.

“We can­not let the brain starve. To main­tain con­cen­tra­tion and pro­duc­tiv­ity, it needs ‘fuel’,” Giuseppe Fatati, pres­i­dent of the Ital­ian As­so­ci­a­tion for Clin­i­cal Di­etet­ics and Nutri­tion said. – Sapa-AFP

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