Social partners guarantee social peace for the year 2000

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Italy is celebrating the Millennium with a year of "Great Jubilee" celebrations during 2000. In June 1999 the social partners signed a "protocol of intent" on a "social truce" for 2000. The text sets out the partners' strategies, objectives and commitments for starting the new Millennium in a climate of social peace.

In Italy, the new Millennium is being celebrated as the "Great Jubilee" (Giubileo), a year of celebrations throughout 2000. The event will be of considerable importance not only from the religious point of view but also financially, with a deep impact on the Italian economy and especially that of the city of Rome. The capital is presently undergoing a huge programme of restoration of monuments and construction of new infrastructure, aimed at facilitating mobility and hospitality for the 25 million visitors who will probably visit the city in 2000.

Given the importance of the occasion, trade union confederations, employers' organisations, the government and the local institutions had expressed concern over possible social and industrial conflicts, seeking to avoid, for the whole duration of the Jubilee, strikes, interruptions of public services and trade union disputes. For this reason they signed, on 3 June 1999, a "protocol of intent" aimed at guaranteeing social peace for the whole of 2000.

The first part of the text underlines the importance of the event for Italy's image all over the world and aims to "meet the requirements necessary to obtain social consensus, to prevent union disputes and independent workers' disputes and conflicts in public services linked to the Great Jubilee".

"Concertation" (dialogue and cooperation) will be the method used to achieve these objectives. In particular, the partners have decided to:

  • identify all the collective agreements that will expire during 2000 and postpone or bring forward their renegotiation (IT9902100N);
  • monitor jointly the current processes of administrative decentralisation which are transferring the powers of the central administration to the regional and city authorities;
  • launch a bargaining forum involving the government, the Great Jubilee authorities and the social partners to establish the impact of the event on working conditions especially in Rome and surrounding Latium, the areas most involved in the project. Special ad-hoc initiatives will be taken to guarantee building-site safety, fight undeclared and unprotected employment, reorganise the schedules of public and private services, and guarantee the best possible hospitality for visitors;
  • monitor the impact of the Great Jubilee on the economic sectors directly involved in the event, in order to evaluate the implications and the problems. This joint monitoring activity, conducted by the partners, will continue after the end of the Great Jubilee and will be aimed at managing the rebalancing of the occupational equilibrium in the various relevant sectors;
  • ensure that the government guarantees, for the duration of the event, support for all the envisaged initiatives, through the creation of a taskforce at Palazzo Chigi (the Prime Minister's office). The taskforce will be made up of all the ministries concerned (labour, civil service, transport, treasury, public works, industry, and posts and telecommunications) and representatives of the local authorities (municipalities, provinces, regions) and of the Jubilee authorities. The taskforce will meet periodically with the social partners to assess and verify the state of advancement of activities and will follow in particular the problems linked to the organisation and efficiency of transport services; and
  • by 30 September 1999, all the initiatives concerned will be the object of a further general agreement concerning the Great Jubilee. The agreement "will seek to guarantee the necessary conditions for a smooth and peaceful conduct of the whole event."

Pierpaolo Baretta, confederal secretary of the Cisl trade union confederation, underlined that concertation plays a very important role in guaranteeing social peace on the occasion of an "event which concerns not only religion but the whole organisation of Italian society, which will be in the spotlight all over the world".

The major of Rome, Francesco Rutelli, said that the accord is "an excellent starting point to make things work well".

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