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6

To Avoid Mass Criticism

To avert growing difficulties at the carmaker Fiat the government promised to...

To avert growing difficulties at the carmaker Fiat the government promised to save some of the 8,100 jobs that Fiat plans to cut, particularly those in Sicily.

At the same time the government is considering extending an incentive plan to trade in old cars.

The job losses announced by Fiat last week could have serious repercussions for employment in the Turin area, where Fiat has its headquarters, and the south, where many small- and medium-sized businesses depend on the car industry.
Rising unemployment may lead to budget deficit that can provoke mass criticism against Mr Berlusconi's economic policies.

The government is trying to satisfy two constituencies at once with its budget, promising its EU partners that it will cut its deficit next year while simultaneously reducing taxes for lower-income Italians.

The CGIL trade union, the government's strongest critic, has called for an eight-hour general strike on Friday in protest against deputy government.