New regulations set for union representation in public sector
On 31 October 1997, the Italian Government finalised the new regulations for the elections of trade union representatives in the public sector, and the conditions for the admission of unions to negotiations over national collective agreements.
On 31 October 1997, the Italian Government approved the law which regulates the representation of public employees, on the basis of the July 1993 central tripartite agreement on incomes policy and collective bargaining (IT9709311F).
The decree provide that unitary trade union representation bodies (RSU) will be elected by all the workers in the public sector by secret ballot. The RSU's tasks and responsibilities in decentralised bargaining will be defined by the Government and trade unions throughout the course of the negotiations for the renewal of the national sectoral collective agreements (foreseen for 1998).
The decree also outlines the regulations for trade union organisations' admission to the negotiations over public sector national sectoral agreements, allowing only those organisations which have obtained at least 5% of votes in the RSU election to participate. In this way, the union confederations and the Government intend to put a stop to the fragmentation of trade union representation into small organisations lacking in real representativeness, which has blocked the development of positive industrial relations and favoured "corporative" conflicts involving small groups of workers.
National agreements will be considered as binding when they are accepted and signed by trade union organisations that together represent at least 51% of union members, or have obtained at least 60% of votes in the RSU elections.
"The Cgil, Cisl and Uil trade union organisations are satisfied with the decree, which unifies the regulations on trade union representation for workers in the public services with those currently practised for private sector workers", declared Roberto Tittarelli, Cisl's confederal secretary, in the confederation's daily newspaper, Conquiste del Lavoro on 2 November 1997.