Tripartite agreement on child labour signed
On 16 April 1998 the Italian Government, the trade unions and the Confindustria employers' organisation signed an agreement on combating child labour.
On 2 February 1998, a so-called "concertation table" (Tavolo di concertazione) on child labour was officially established in Italy. This institution is meant to be a forum where the social partners can tackle issues related to child labour. Many other institutions, such as the ministries and the governmental bodies involved, participate in this concertation process alongside trade union organisations, the Confindustria employers' confederation, trade and crafts associations and representatives of the International Labour Organisation and UNICEF.
The "concertation table" drew up a "Charter of commitments" (Carta di impegni) which condemns child labour and sets precise guidelines to be promoted both in Italy and abroad to eradicate this phenomenon. The agreement was signed on 16 April 1998 at a ceremony presided over by the Prime Minister, Romano Prodi, and attended by the secretaries general of the Cgil, Cisl and Uil union organisations, the chair of Confindustria and the Ministers of Labour, Education and Social Solidarity.
The date of the agreement's signature was significant - 16 April was the third anniversary of the killing of Iqbal Masih, a Pakistani child who denounced those who exploited him to produce carpets. The commitments made by the signatories to the charter are seen as having a binding and deep character. The most important of these commitments concern:
- the establishment of incentives and disincentives to stop the use of child labour abroad;
- the establishment of codes of conduct for enterprises;
- the use of schools as centres of cultural and social promotion in this area;
- the use of the guaranteed minimum revenue scheme in order to support poor families;
- the fight against the underground economy.
Romano Prodi confirmed the existence of child labour in Italy and promised, on behalf of the Government, to take firm action in order to eradicate this painful problem domestically (IT9801145N)
Child labour has been the subject of various initiatives by the social partners recently, including an innovative agreement at the Artsana toy company (IT9711137N)