Agreement on public sector salaries

The Italian government reached an agreement with unions on 4 February 2011 over productivity-linked pay increases in the public sector. The agreement also covers negotiations for a framework agreement on industrial relations in the public sector until 2012, as collective bargaining is frozen until then. The General Confederation of Italian Workers did not sign the agreement because it is based on the 2009 reform of the bargaining system, which they had also not signed.

Background

Renato Brunetta, the Minister for the Civil Service, began to reform the civil service in 2008. The main changes include the introduction of bonuses and incentives based on merit and individual performance, career progression based on evaluations, and disciplinary sanctions for low work-productivity and pretending to be ill (IT0807039I, IT0810019I).

Due to the financial intervention package passed by the government in July 2010, the renewal of collective agreements in the public sector has been suspended from 2010–2012 (IT1008019I). The pay of Italy’s 3,493,000 public sector workers has also been frozen at 2010 levels. According to financial statements (in Italian, 662Kb PDF) of the General Accounting Office, the average gross annual pay in the sector in 2009 was €34,495.

Contents of the agreement

The agreement was signed by the government, the Italian Confederation of Workers’ Unions (CISL), the Union of Italian Workers (UIL), the General Confederation of Autonomous Trade Unions (Confsal), the General Union of Work (Ugl) and the European Association of Autonomous Trade Unions (USAE)) The agreement covers three main areas: the bargaining system, productivity-linked salaries and a bilateral commission.

Bargaining system

Until new national collective agreements are set up following the 2010–2012 pay freeze, the agreement foresees negotiations to define a framework agreement for regulating industrial relations in the public sector. This agreement will be defined according to:

Both agreements were signed by all the social partners except the General Confederation of Italian Workers (CGIL).

Productivity-linked salaries

The salaries of civil service employees are made up of a fixed sum regulated by the sectoral national collective agreement and of a variable sum (supplementary salary) linked to criteria defined in the collective agreements of each organisational unit. The Brunetta reform has established rigid criteria linked to the individual and organisational performance of each worker in order to calculate the variable part of the salary.

The agreement of 4 February 2010 introduces a transition regime for this system of premiums while collective bargaining is blocked and salary levels are frozen. The signatories have agreed that overall remuneration for workers in 2010 (including, therefore, supplementary salary) must not decrease due to the application of these bonus systems.

Bilateral commissions

The agreement foresees the setting up of a bilateral commission in order to monitor the consequences of the Brunetta reform.

Reactions of the trade unions

Susanna Camusso, Secretary General of CGIL, says she did not sign the agreement because it does not deal with the urgent problems in public administration such as uncertain employment, the blocking of agreements or the need to organise the elections of the Unitary Workplace Union Structures (Rappresentanze Sindacali Unitarie), which should have been renewed last November. Furthermore, the agreement is based on the 2009 reform of the bargaining system, which was not accepted by CGIL.

Raffaele Bonanni, Secretary General of CISL, considers it an important agreement because, although it was signed during the suspension of national collective agreements, the salaries of employees of the public administration will be completely safeguarded.

Paolo Pirani, Confederal Secretary of the UIL, thinks the agreement is very important for industrial relations and has underlined the positive fact of protecting salary levels.

Sofia Sanz, Cesos

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