Workers slam call to cut breaks
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