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An underpaid Italian youth confronts his employer in a viral TikTok video

An underpaid Italian youth confronts his employer in a viral TikTok video

A video of an Italian waiter, who appears to confront his employer to demand better pay for his hours, has gone viral on TikTok in Italy where many young people are underpaid and under the table.

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Viewed nearly 500,000 times on the social network within three days and widely commented on in the media, Mohammed, who works in a restaurant in Modena, near Bologna, has just finished his six-hour shift, shows… 6:00 pm until midnight.

He has served dozens of customers, some of whom “treat him so badly” that he is on the verge of tears, he says in the video.

When collecting his wages from his employer, the latter gives him 20 euros, from hand to hand, to balance all accounts. Just over three euros an hour, under the table: no social contributions, no pension.

Muhammad protests. He decides to broadcast the discussion live on his TikTok account under the pseudonym chinwiii.730.

“How much do you want? 30 euros?” The employer asks. “Also 30 euros, that’s four euros an hour, are you kidding me? The young man, who promised him 50 euros, replied: “We pay undeclared workers at least eight euros.”

The Italian trade union centers Cgil, Cisl and Uil denounced in a joint statement “common violations of the same nature in many sectors” after the video was broadcast.

Stefano Corgi, head of a group of restaurateurs in the city of Modena, confirmed: “We are not all like that.”

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Italy is among the last five countries in the European Union, along with Finland, Sweden, Denmark and Austria, where there is no legal minimum wage, with wages set through collective bargaining alone.

The center-left opposition introduced a bill this year aimed at creating a minimum income of 9 euros per hour, a project that was rejected by the right-wing and far-right coalition led by Giorgia Meloni.

Muhammad continues in his video: “I broke my back.” “Is this how you want to make young people work, how you want to enrich yourself? They say that young Italians don’t want to work. How can you say such a thing? Shame on you, Italian employers.”

Tired of fighting, the restaurant owner ends up giving him 50 euros.

“I am unemployed and looking for work. I have sent my CV everywhere, so far no response.”

Youth unemployment in Italy is one of the highest in Europe, at 21%, three times the Italian national average, according to the National Statistical Institute.