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UPDATE 1-Italy's main unions call strikes over 2014 budget

Monday, 21 Oct 2013 | 6:58 AM ET

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ROME, Oct 21 (Reuters) - Italy's three main trade union confederations will hold strikes and protests in the next few weeks against the government's 2014 budget plan, the head of the UIL union Luigi Angeletti said on Monday after a meeting with other union heads.

The budget has drawn widespread criticism from unions, employers and among the ruling parties for doing too little to reduce taxes, reverse years of austerity or reform an economy which has been in recession for two years.

The budget, which aims to lower Italy's budget deficit to 2.5 percent of output in 2014 from a targeted 3.0 percent this year, has become a focal point of discontent, piling pressure on Enrico Letta's fragile coalition government.

"Everything stays the same, he shouldn't have done a budget to stabilise the government, he should have done one to stabilise the country," Angeletti told reporters after a meeting with the chiefs of the larger CISL and CGIL unions.

The unions called for major changes to the budget during its passage through parliament, where it must be approved by the end of the year, but they stopped short of calling a nationwide general strike.

(Reporting by Roberto Landucci, writing by Gavin Jones)