A basic income for the poor and job seekers has been the flagship campaign pledge of the anti-establishment M5S. The plan was to start with this measure in 2019, although the coalition partners diverged in their ideas about the necessary provisions. In a recent statement, the labour minister has announced that a basic income for 4.5 million citizens will be introduced by the end of March of 2019.[close]
A strike in public transport, education and health care could easily lead to a black Friday throughout the country. There is a general strike, called by the some trade unions in the public and private sectors that will last, in some cases, even 24 hours. The strike was called to protest, among other things, against government measures, the deterioration of working conditions, the reduction of the social protection system and full enjoyment of social and health rights, for public education and against the law 107/2015 for the reduction of working time at equal pay and in favour of public investment for the environment and work. In a protest against insufficient funding for the national health fund, hospital doctors will refuse to do overtime.[close]
The three main trade-union confederations, CGIL, CISL, UIL, have presented a joint document criticising the government's 2019 budget plan. Although the unions see the package as a first reversal of the trend of austerity, the budget contains ‘elements of inadequacy and is lacking a vision of the country and a strategic design capable of recomposing and boosting policies for sustainable development and work’. The joint document features the union priorities with proposals on growth, jobs, tax reform, pensions and the public service that the unions say are the basis upon which they intend to open dialogue with the government.[close]
NGO Caritas has published an alarming report on poverty. According to the charity organisation the country has an ‘army of poor’ who do not seem to find responses to their needs from the State. The report, which was released on the international day for the eradication of poverty, says that the number of people in absolute poverty is over five million, following a 182% increase since the start of the economic crisis.[close]
The management at the rubber reinforcement entity in Figline e Incisa Valdarno of the Bekaert Group announced in the summer of 2018 the decision to close and cease all activities there. The works council of the Figline site, the trade unions and the authorities were informed about the decision. Bekaert expressed its intention to start up a dialogue aimed at mitigating the social impact for the 318 affected employees. A redundancy deal was struck with the trade unions: the procedure of collective firings has been suspended, redundancy payments have been restored, as well as incentives to leave.
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The trade union Filcams Cgil, Fisascat Cisl and Uiltucs concluded a company agreement with the fashion chain H & M. The deal involves more than 5,000 workers, working at over 150 H & M, Cos e & Other stories spread over 17 regions. The unions see this as a result of the offers the workers delivered to the consolidation of the fast fashion business model, after the collective redundancy procedure initiated at national level in May 2017 and the closure of some stores.
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The statistical office ISTAT published 2017 data on households’ income. The national agency said that, while disposable gross income increased 1.6% in nominal terms, this translated into an increase of just 0.5% in terms of purchase power - down from 1.2% in 2016 and 1.3% in 2015. Consumer spending increased by 2.6%, causing a drop of 0.9 of a point of the propensity to save to 7.7%. In a summary of the 2018 report, with data on 2017, it is noted that income inequality and absolute poverty have increased. The latter, according to preliminary estimates in 2017, affects 6.9% of households and 8.3% of residents (from 6.3% and 7.9% in 2016, respectively), almost 1.8 million households and 5 million individuals in absolute terms.[close]
Ilva Group workers - members of the trade unions Fim-Cisl, Fiom-Cgil and Uilm-Uil – approved by a very large majority of 93% the agreement concluded on 6 September between the Ministry of Economic Development, trade unions and ArcelorMittal. In total, Fim-Cisl, Fiom-Cgil and Uilm-Uil representing some 14,000 workers of the Ilva group, organised 44 assemblies at all the Ilva sites. The agreement leads to a planned 4.2 billion euro of investments for the revival of the steel industry, including 1.25 billion euro for industrial purposes, 1.15 billion euro for the environment and 1.8 billion euro as part of the acquisition.
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The tomato industry has been accused of pushing migrants into ‘conditions of absolute exploitation’ (see also the July/August Newsletter). The agricultural sector is heavily reliant on migrant workers. According to official estimates, 161,000 foreign workers (16% of the total) are regularly employed in the agricultural sector in Southern Italy and at least as many are working without having been declared. Migrant worker, many of them irregularly employed, hand-pick tomatoes for high-tech processing plants, some of them in extremely exploitative conditions, for as little as 20 euro for 12 hours per day.
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An agreement over working conditions with Ryanair pilots has been approved. It is the first deal the strike-hit low-cost airline has fully concluded. The agreement that was reached after eight months of talks, gives Italy-based pilots working for Ryanair ‘protection and guarantees’, according to the ANPAC trade union that negotiated the collective agreement. The deal was submitted for approval to 300 pilot members and accepted with a large majority of votes.[close]