National agreement signed for local public transport workers
In November 2004, a new national collective agreement was signed for Italy's 117,000 local public transport workers. As well as providing for a wage rise, the agreement regulates the use of new forms of employment in the sector and improves the pay position of new recruits.
On 18 November 2004, a new national collective agreement was signed for the local public transport sector (IT0312204F). The signatories were: on the employers's side, the Association of Local Public Transport Firms (Associazione delle Società ed Enti del Trasporto Pubblico Locale, Asstra) and the National Associations of Passenger Road Transport (Associazione Nazionale Autotrasporto Viaggiatori, Anav); and on the trade union side, the Italian Federation of Transport Workers (Federazione italiana lavoratori trasporti, Filt), affiliated to the General Confederation of Italian Workers (Confederazione generale italiana del lavoro, Cgil), the Italian Federation of Transport (Federazione italiana trasporti, Fit), affiliated to the Italian Confederation of Workers' Unions (Confederazione italiana sindacati lavoratori, Cisl), and the Union of Italian Transport Workers (Unione italiana lavoratori trasporti, Uiltrasporti), affiliated to the Union of Italian Workers (Unione italiana del lavoro, Uil), plus the Independent Trade Union Federation of Transport Workers (Federazione Autonoma italiana Sindacato Autoferrotranvieri, Faisa), affiliated to the Italian Confederation of Autonomous Workers' Unions (Confederazione Italiana Sindacati Autonomi Lavoratori, Cisal), Across Italy, there are about 1,200 local public transport companies with a total of 116,500 employees.
The main provisions of the new sectoral collective agreement are as follows.
- Pay. The agreement provides for an average wage increase of EUR 105 per month, to be paid in three instalments: EUR 40 in December 2004; EUR 30 in June 2005; and EUR 35 in September 2005. A one-off payment of EUR 500 will be also made - half in January 2005 and half in March 2005.
- New recruits. Until now, public transport workers have been hired at a very low point on the pay scale (point 134 - each point is worth about EUR 4.5 a month) and remained there for nine years - about 12,000 workers are currently in this position, earning gross monthly pay of EUR 1,600 compared with an average of EUR 2,100 for those with longer service. The new agreement raises the entry level (to point 140) and reduces the period to which it applies by one year. From the fourth year of service, workers will receive an additional monthly payment of EUR 18 until the 18th year of service, when they will automatically reach point 158.
- New forms of employment. The agreement regulates the use of the new forms of employment provided for by the 2003 'Biagi' labour market reform law (30/2003 - (IT0307204F and IT0303103N). The employers accepted trade union demands to lay down strict rules for the use of these new forms of employment and prevent the use of those not seen as consistent with the characteristics of the public transport sector. 'On call' jobs may not be used and temporary agency work may be used only in exceptional cases where fixed-term contracts cannot be used instead. Job-sharing and telework may be used on a voluntary basis among employees on open-ended contracts. All these forms of employment together may apply to no more than 2% of the total workforce. Fixed-term contracts may have a minimum duration of 30 days and a maximum duration of 12 months, which may be extended for another 12 months. It will be possible to make recourse to 'vertical' (ie comprised of working days similar to those of full-time workers, but with the number of working days reduced), 'horizontal' (with reduced hours every day) or 'mixed' part-time work. In the latter case, the agreement provides for the possibility of up to two hours of 'supplementary work' (ie overtime) a day, (or 20% of the annual working time). The number of workers on fixed-term and part-time contracts cannot exceed 35% of open-ended employees in companies with up to 50 employees, 25% in companies with 50-500 employees and 20% in companies with more than 500 employees. Workers who shift by request from full-time to part-time work are taken into account in these percentages. The agreement also provides for the possibility of using 'work-entry' or 'reintegration' contracts, but companies that do not retain at least 70% of workers hired on such contracts once they expire, will no longer be able to use these contracts
- Apprenticeship. Apprentices must be aged between 21 and 29 years. Apprenticeships will last three years and during this period the company will benefit from a state subsidy to their social security contributions, equal to about 32% of gross remuneration.
- Business transfers. In the event of the transfer of one part of a company to another employer, the latter is obliged to maintain the same pay and conditions enjoyed by the workers before the transfer. Further harmonisation of pay and conditions may, in future, be dealt with by company-level negotiations.
The new national collective agreement is the sector's first for 20 years to be signed without the intervention of the government. This is a very important signal regarding relations between the social partners, stated Francesco Fortunato, general director of Anav. According to Mr Fortunato, a pragmatic approach prevailed in the negotiations, as well as a willingness to achieve results through constructive dialogue. Fabrizio Scolari, the general secretary of Filt-Cisl, referred to the flexibility introduced by the agreement and commented: 'we have reached an acceptable balance between companies’ competitive needs and the protection of workers’ rights.'