Construction industry agreement signed
The new industry-wide agreement for the Italian construction sector, signed in June 1997, includes provisions on pay, local bargaining, occupational pensions and combating undeclared work.
The sectoral agreement covering Italy's 1.2 million construction workers - the most important agreement still to be concluded in the current bargaining round - was renewed on 12 June 1997. The agreement which will now have to be approved by workers' meetings, was signed by the sectoral trade unions - Fillea-Cgil, Filea-Cisl andFeneal-Uil- and employers' associations - the National Association of Construction (Associazione Nazionale dei Costruttori Edili, Ance), the Association of State-Owned and Controlled Enterprises (Intersind) and the representatives of cooperatives. The new contract is due to expire on 30 June 1999.
The agreement sets wage increases for the two-year period 1997-8, in line with the provisions of the July 1993 central tripartite agreement on incomes policy, and also a "wage payback", due to the difference between the projected inflation rate and actual inflation over the lifetime of the previous agreement. The minimum monthly rates of pay will increase by an average of ITL 115,000, depending on qualification level, in three instalments by 1 April 1999. As well as dealing with pay, the agreement also covers the following issues:
- defining the characteristics of local bargaining. Local workers' organisations and employers will negotiate a "local economic element", from 1 January 1998 covering a four-year period. The sums involved will be up to 7% of minimum pay rates, and this part of the wage is intended to link remuneration "to the cyclical trend of the sector in the region and to the results achieved by firms in terms of productivity, employment levels and the operation of mechanisms to fight undeclared work";
- setting up a complementary occupational pensions fund. A national complementary occupational pensions fund (IT9705205F) will be in operation by 1 July 1998. It will be financed by employer and employee contributions of some 1% of annual pay each, and by an annual quota of around 18% of the Tfr (Trattamento di fine rapporto) fund. The Tfr end-of-service allowance is a form of deferred pay withheld by the employer until termination of the employment relationship; and
- a common commitment to fight"undeclared work". The agreement sets out ways of "fighting undeclared work effectively", safeguarding the competitive position of regular enterprises with regard to those that act illegally, evading social security obligations and collective bargaining coverage. Trade unions and employers will implement measures to obtain "full conformity with the law and contracts by the firms in charge of public works". For privately-managed work, "mechanisms to help identify which firms are responsible for the activity right from the beginning, in order that the responsibilities are made public" will be identified, and proposals made. Nevertheless, the social partners are still pressing for new legislative interventions by Parliament to combat illegal work.