(MENAFN - AFP) Tens of thousands of members of Italy's top union rallied in central Rome on Saturday, protesting the country's ongoing economic woes, swingeing austerity cuts and high unemployment.
Demonstrators from the CGIL union came from many professions -- including steelworkers, construction crews and craftsmen -- and walked behind banners bearing the slogan: "Work before all else."
CGIL head Susanna Camusso blasted the government of Mario Monti, saying the technocrat administration he heads was "not worth it."
"The politics of austerity is not only a failure but it is guilty of causing the difficulties in this country," she said.
Monti's government was installed to rescue Italy from bankruptcy after Silvio Berlusconi stepped down in November.
Camusso said that in Italy, "We favour investing in finance instead of production and industry."
A mobile bakery with a wood-burning oven circulated at the event, with a sign on top saying: "We demand jobs and a salary... for now, we are offering bread."
Camusso said demonstrators would again take to the streets on November 14, the same day other unions in Europe are planning widespread actions.
Monti has imposed a series of sweeping austerity measures to tackle the country's vast debt, but critics have accused him of failing to boost growth and of stifling the population with high taxes.
The unemployment rate is 10.7 percent, but much higher among younger workers.