Italy: Latest developments in working life Q1 2019

The potential introduction of a minimum wage, the efforts of social partners to engage with the government on employment matters, CGIL’s new Secretary General and the renewal of a collective agreement in the car industry are the main topics of interest in this article. This country update reports on the latest developments in working life in Italy in the first quarter of 2019.

Minimum income and retirement legislation

The first quarter of 2019 was marked by a number of important legislative developments. One of these was the enactment of a decree introducing the citizenship income (which replaces the inclusion income introduced in 2017) and an earlier retirement age, between 2019 and 2021, for those aged at least 62 years and with at least 38 years of pension contributions (the so-called ‘quota 100’ threshold). Eligible citizens can now apply for both the citizenship income and earlier retirement.

The government also declared its support for the introduction of a legal minimum wage in the first quarter of 2019 and a draft bill is currently under discussion in the Senate. In March 2019, the senate committee responsible for the draft bill held several hearings with social partners, experts, and relevant bodies such as the Italian National Institute of Statistics (Istat) and the Italian National Social Security Institute (INPS). The committee is due to prepare a draft text for the Assembly in May 2019. According to the current text, the legal minimum wage should relate to collective agreements, have a minimum threshold of €9 per hour and take all wage elements into account (including social contributions).

Social partners urge government to start employment talks

Social partners have been urging the government to focus on investment in order to support job creation and economic growth in Italy’s stagnating economy. They have also stressed the need to start talks and social dialogue on the measures to be introduced.

On 9 February, the Italian General Confederation of Labour (CGIL), the Italian Confederation of Workers’ Trade Unions (CISL) and the Italian Labour Union (UIL) held a demonstration in Rome to present their joint platform on issues including employment, industrial policy, tax policy, social security, pensions, and health and safety at work. [1]

On the employers’ side, the President of the General Confederation of Italian Industry (Confindustria) asked the government to establish a pact for growth and employment, and focus on three priorities (infrastructure, credit and growth) as a way to reactive investments. [2] Confindustria believes that these issues could be addressed without creating new government debt. According to the organisation, significant resources have already been set aside and could be used to fund infrastructure development (€26 billion, which could create 400,000 jobs), and the emerging signs of a credit crunch could be addressed by using the existing guarantee fund and accelerating public administration payments.

CGIL elects new Secretary General

Maurizio Landini was elected the new Secretary General of CGIL on 24 January, during the 28th Congress of the trade union confederation. [3] He received 92.7% of the votes cast in the General Assembly and replaces Susanna Camusso, who proposed him for the position.

His priorities include inclusiveness (particularly in relation to young people and workers in precarious employment) and participation (particularly in relation to the active involvement of workers and members from a bottom–up perspective). [4]

Renewal of collective agreement in the FCA group

On 11 March, a renewed collective agreement for the Fiat Chrysler Automobiles-CNH Industrial-Ferrari group was signed by the company management and a number of trade unions. [5]

According to the Italian Metalworkers Federation (FIM-CISL), one of the signatory unions, the results included:

  • wage increases (+8.24%)
  • improvements in supplementary pensions and health insurance
  • improvements in working time (with the extension of smart working to all the plants)
  • the introduction of a new classification system, based on three professional groups (with the aim of betting recognising new professional skills, especially in the framework of Industry 4.0)

The Federation of Metallurgical Employees and Workers (FIOM-CGIL), which presented a different platform of demands and negotiated at a different bargaining table, stepped away from negotiations at the end of February. The federation felt that its position was too far removed from that of the company management, particularly in terms of demanding a two-level bargaining system, with establishment-level agreements and a bargaining role for workplace representatives. [6]

Commentary

The next few months will be marked by the results of the election for the European Parliament, held on May. The election has influenced the national debate and the relationship between the two government coalition parties, the Five Star Movement and the League (which ran separate campaigns).

The most sensitive issue in terms of employment relations is the possible introduction of a legal minimum wage. The government has declared its willingness to talk with the social partners and consider their positions, and some meetings have already been held. However, systematic social dialogue on this and other issues has yet to start.


Footnotes

  1. ^ CGIL (2019), Cgil, Cisl, e Uil: oggi manifestazione nazionale in piazza San Giovanni , 8 February; CISL (2019), Lavoro. Furlan: ‘Le cose stanno andando male. Domani vogliamo dare una scossa al Governo ’, 8 February.
  2. ^ Il Sole 24 Ore (2019), Boccia: ‘Ora patto per lo sviluppo. Il Governo faccia un salto di qualità’ , 28 March.
  3. ^ CGIL (2019), Maurizio Landini è il nuovo segretario generale della Cgil , 24 January.
  4. ^ Rassegna sindacale (2019), Congresso. Maurizio Landini è il nuovo segretario della Cgil , 24 January.
  5. ^ Il Sole 24 Ore (2019), Fca e Cnh, firmato rinnovo del contratto. A regime aumenti medi di 145 euro , 11 March.
  6. ^ FIOM-CGIL (2019), Fca, Cnhi, Ferrari: è rottura della trattativa sulla piattaforma! , 26 February.

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