Italy: Debate on union representation at Fiat

A number of significant developments took place in 2014 in industrial relations involving Italy’s main metalworking trade unions at car manufacturer Fiat.

In January 2012, car manufacturer Fiat withdrew from the employers’ organisation Confindustria. In doing so, it ceased to be covered by collective bargaining agreements signed by the employers’ group.

Fiat employees are currently covered by agreements signed by the company with the Federation of Italian Metalworkers (Fim), affiliated to the Italian Confederation of Workers’ Trade Unions (Cisl), and the Union of Italian Metalworkers (Uilm), affiliated to the Union of Italian Workers (Uil). It is not covered by those signed with the Federation of White-collar and Blue-collar Metalworkers (Fiom), affiliated to the General Confederation of Italian Workers (Cgil).  

This means that the industrial relations framework established by the consolidated agreement (Testo Unico) signed in 2014 (TU2014) and the Memorandum of Understanding signed on 3 July 1993 (by Confindustria, Cgil, Cisl and Uil) does not apply to Fiat.

According to Section 19 of Law 300/1970 (the so-called Workers’ Statute), a plant-level trade union structure (rappresentanze sindacale aziendali, RSA) can be used by trade union that are signatories of collective bargaining agreements applied within the company. Under the Workers’ Statute, Fiat allowed only Fim-Cisl and Uilm-Uil to appoint representatives.

Following Judgment no. 231 of 23 July 2013 of the Italian Constitutional Court, Fiom-Cgil was also recognised by Fiat and given the right to appoint its own RSA.

On 13 October 2014, Fim-Cisl and Uilm-Uil informed Fiom-Cgil of their intention to proceed to the election of a trade union representative body (rappresentanze sindacali unitaria, RSU) according to the rules set by TU2014 instead of the system of union representation based on RSAs.

Fiom-Cgil, which had challenged the Cgil’s decision to sign TU2014 because it did not agree with parts of it, is considering its response to the proposal by Fim-Cisl and Uilm-Uil.

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