Italy PP Slides - Sage Publications

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5TH EDITION
INTERNATIONAL
& COMPARATIVE
EMPLOYMENT RELATIONS
Globalisation and change
Edited by Greg J Bamber,
Russell D Lansbury and Nick Wailes
CHAPTER 6
Employment Relations in Italy
Lucio Baccaro and Valeria Pulignano
© Allen & Unwin, 2011. These slides are support material for International and Comparative Employment Relations 5th edition. Lecturers using the
book as a set text may freely use these slides in class, and may distribute them to students in their course only. These slides may not be posted on
any university library sites, electronic learning platforms or other channels accessible to other courses, the university at large or the general public.
International & Comparative
Employment Relations 5th edition
Edited by Greg J Bamber,
Russell D Lansbury & Nick Wailes
Lecture outline
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•
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Key themes
Italian employment relations after WWII
Industrial events 1960s-1980s
Italian employer associations
Italian unionism
Workplace representative structures
Shift to a corporatist system
The corporatist system today
Employment relations at the industry level
Employment relations at the company level
Labour relations in the public sector
Conclusions – current and future issues
Chapter 6:
2 Italy
Copyright Allen & Unwin, 2011
International & Comparative
Employment Relations 5th edition
Edited by Greg J Bamber,
Russell D Lansbury & Nick Wailes
Key themes
• The Italian industrial relations system does not fit easily into
cross-country classificatory schemes in either the corporatist or
VoC literature
• Historically, Italian unions have been militant and politicised –
they were generally unwilling to compromise on a much-needed
policy of centralised wage moderation
• The Italian industrial system changed dramatically during the
1990s due to a series of social pacts and collaboration between
governments, unions and some organised employers
• There has been a shift towards a new kind of corporatism in the
context of declining unionism
• There are serious questions about whether Italian unionism will
continue to be an important industrial actor, particularly in the
private sector
Chapter 6:
3 Italy
Copyright Allen & Unwin, 2011
International & Comparative
Employment Relations 5th edition
Edited by Greg J Bamber,
Russell D Lansbury & Nick Wailes
Italian employment relations post WWII
• The trajectory of Italian employment relations after WWII was
strictly linked to the evolution of the Italian political system
• By the 1950s, Italian trade unions were particularly weak and
collective bargaining was almost completely centralised at the
national level, which benefited employer interests
• Wage moderation and labour quiescence contributed to create
the preconditions for the economic success of the late 1950s and
early 1960s
• Italian industrial relations changed dramatically in the 1960s as
industrial conditions became much more favourable to labour
• Changes in the political arena with the emergence of centre-left
governments also eased ideological tensions that had previously
divided the labour movement
Chapter 6:
4 Italy
Copyright Allen & Unwin, 2011
International & Comparative
Employment Relations 5th edition
Edited by Greg J Bamber,
Russell D Lansbury & Nick Wailes
Industrial events 1960s-1980s
• ‘Hot Autumn’ – a massive wave of strikes in the late 1960s and
early 1970s – led to the partial reunification of the labour
movement and innovations in collective bargaining
• This period overturned virtually all of the social, economic and
political patterns established in the post-war period
• However, the greatly increased labour costs were disastrous for
Italian export-led development, undermining the viability of
the Italian economy
• The response was the ‘EUR Policy’ in the late 1970s – unions
agreed to moderate wage demands and limit industrial conflict
in return for participation in national policy-making
• The EUR Policy had limited success until the 1980s, when it
disintegrated, resulting in the splitting of the labour movement
and the decentralisation of collective bargaining
Chapter 6:
5 Italy
Copyright Allen & Unwin, 2011
International & Comparative
Employment Relations 5th edition
Edited by Greg J Bamber,
Russell D Lansbury & Nick Wailes
Italian employer associations
• The most important employer association is
Confindustria – density rate of approximately 29%
• Competing interests within Confindustria
– Large enterprises face militant unions and favour some form of union
dialogue
– Small-medium enterprises face weak unions and favour a strong antiunion approach
• There have been recent policy shifts to interests of
small-medium enterprises
• Other smaller, industry- and service-specific
employer organisations exist. These are often aligned
with political parties but generally follow the line of
Confindustria
Chapter 6:
6 Italy
Copyright Allen & Unwin, 2011
International & Comparative
Employment Relations 5th edition
Edited by Greg J Bamber,
Russell D Lansbury & Nick Wailes
Italian unionism
• Aggregate union density rates peaked at 50% in the late 1970s
and have steadily declined to an estimate of 29% in 2006
• There are three major union confederations:
– Confederazione Generale Italiana del Lavoro (CGIL)
– Confederazione Italiana Sindacati dei Lavoratori (CISL)
– Unione Italiana dei Lavoratori (UIL)
• The CGIL, CISL and UIL organise an estimated 81% of all union
members
• Union density is 44% in the public sector and 19% in the
private sector
• Union density is much higher amongst older workers
(including retired members), with unions struggling to
organise younger workers
Chapter 6:
7 Italy
Copyright Allen & Unwin, 2011
International & Comparative
Employment Relations 5th edition
Edited by Greg J Bamber,
Russell D Lansbury & Nick Wailes
Organisational structures
• Both the key employer and union confederations
have the same structure:
– Vertical, industry-based organisational structures, linking
enterprise level, provincial industry organisation and
national industry federations
– Horizontal (territorial) structures
• There has been a tendency towards consolidation of
the union industry federations through mergers
• Union structures have remained relatively stable
above the workplace level but have changed
considerably within the workplace itself
Chapter 6:
8 Italy
Copyright Allen & Unwin, 2011
International & Comparative
Employment Relations 5th edition
Edited by Greg J Bamber,
Russell D Lansbury & Nick Wailes
Workplace representative structures
• In the pre-fascist period and again after 1943, workplace
representation occurred through Commissione Interna
(internal commissions) which were like small parliaments
ensuring smooth relations between workers and companies
• During the Hot Autumn, Consigli di Fabbrica (factory councils)
were established. Simultaneously the Worker’s Statute (Law
300) of 1970 authorised unions to set up workplace
representation structures called Rappresentanze Sindacali
Aziendali (RSA). The existing factory councils were recognised
by the union confederations as such RSA bodies
• When relations between the 3 main union confederations
deteriorated in the 1980s, their joint factory councils were
disbanded or reformed
Chapter 6:
9 Italy
Copyright Allen & Unwin, 2011
International & Comparative
Employment Relations 5th edition
Edited by Greg J Bamber,
Russell D Lansbury & Nick Wailes
Rappresentanze Sindacale Unitarie (RSU)
• In 1993, representative worker councils in the form of the RSU
were introduced into workplaces, again ensuring union control
over work councils at the enterprise level
• RSUs became the formal bargaining agents with consultation and
information rights
• Through the RSU, unions were able to make use of a more
reliable base to negotiate change and regulate employment
relationships on the shop floor
• The introduction of the RSU spurred a wave of union elections
and reaffirmed the confederal unions’ claim to general
representation
• The RSUs gave the unions renewed legitimacy and momentum,
but this did not prevent a serious erosion of union density,
particularly in the public sector
Chapter 6:
10 Italy
Copyright Allen & Unwin, 2011
International & Comparative
Employment Relations 5th edition
Edited by Greg J Bamber,
Russell D Lansbury & Nick Wailes
Shift to a corporatist system
• 1990s: re-emergence of collective bargaining due to
– Serious economic crisis that necessitated wage moderation and limited
public spending
– Political factors including the emergence of centre-right parties
• Between 1992 and 1998 the three confederal unions
negotiated with the Italian governments and (usually) with the
Confidustria, variously agreeing to:
– Abolish wage indexation
– Temporarily ban enterprise bargaining
– Link industry-level wage increases to government macro-economic
targets
– Introduce a two-tier structure of collective bargaining (industry and
enterprise level)
Chapter 6:
11 Italy
Copyright Allen & Unwin, 2011
International & Comparative
Employment Relations 5th edition
Edited by Greg J Bamber,
Russell D Lansbury & Nick Wailes
The corporatist system today
• This newly emerging corporatist system lost pace soon
after 2000 due to a strategic alliance between the
Confindustria and the centre-right coalition, as well as a
spilt in the union front
• However, corporatist policy-making returned in 2007
and has continued, despite recurrent and predictable
splits in the union movement that appear to be linked
to the political persuasion of the government
• The incisiveness of earlier pacts is gone but the parties
continue to negotiate national-level agreements into
the twenty-first century
Chapter 6:
12 Italy
Copyright Allen & Unwin, 2011
International & Comparative
Employment Relations 5th edition
Edited by Greg J Bamber,
Russell D Lansbury & Nick Wailes
Employment relations at the industry level
• Industry-level agreements historically had a symbiotic
relationship with enterprise bargaining, despite competition
• There was a trend towards collective bargaining
decentralisation in the 1980s, but focus returned to industry
agreements after the tripartite agreement of 1993 which
entrenched bargaining at both industry and enterprise levels
• The 1993 tripartite agreement clarified that the role of
industry agreement is to homogenise working conditions
within a specific productive sector and to link wage increases
to expected inflation rates
• The dual structure of collective bargaining was recently
affirmed, yet ongoing debate on collective bargaining reform
continues
Chapter 6:
13 Italy
Copyright Allen & Unwin, 2011
International & Comparative
Employment Relations 5th edition
Edited by Greg J Bamber,
Russell D Lansbury & Nick Wailes
Employment relations at the company level
• 1993 was also a watershed year for company-level
bargaining. It saw:
– The establishment of RSU
– The introduction of contractual rules regulating
decentralised bargaining
• The effect of the 1993 reforms on enterprise
bargaining prevalence is unclear:
– Studies are difficult to compare but seem to suggest that
institutionalisation of enterprise bargaining in 1993 did not
increase this type of bargaining
Chapter 6:
14 Italy
Copyright Allen & Unwin, 2011
International & Comparative
Employment Relations 5th edition
Edited by Greg J Bamber,
Russell D Lansbury & Nick Wailes
Labour relations in the public sector
• The 1993 reforms introduced autonomy into collective
bargaining in the public sector
• Their main goal was to make public sector employment
relations more like those in the private sector
• An independent agency, the Agenzia per la Rappresentanza
Negoziale delle Pubbliche Amministrazioni (ARAN), was created
and is responsible for collective bargaining in the public sector
• Now the structure of public sector bargaining is similar to that
of the private sector (dual system)
• The effect of these reforms is unclear but there have been
changes in:
– qualitative aspects of negotiations (e.g. regarding job classifications or
labour flexibility)
– rationalisation of union representation
Chapter 6:
15 Italy
Copyright Allen & Unwin, 2011
International & Comparative
Employment Relations 5th edition
Edited by Greg J Bamber,
Russell D Lansbury & Nick Wailes
Conclusions: current and future issues
• A new type of corporatism has emerged in Italy since 1992
– It involves social partners in nearly all major economic decisions
– Yet it produces few, if any, classic redistributive/egalitarian
benefits of traditional corporatism
• The dual structure of collective bargaining, and the relative
stagnation of bargaining at the enterprise level, may
explain the failure of wages to reflect productivity increases
• The present and future challenge for Italy is to address the
current wage emergency
• Italian unions also face the crucial challenge of increasing
density levels in order to take full advantage of their social
partner role
© Allen & Unwin, 2011. These slides are support material for International and Comparative Employment Relations 5th edition. Lecturers using the
book as a set text may freely use these slides in class, and may distribute them to students in their course only. These slides may not be posted on
any university library sites, electronic learning platforms or other channels accessible to other courses, the university at large or the general public.
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