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trade union

From Working Time Flexibility to Numerical Flexibility. Considerations on Government Action and Union Intervention

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in the issue
Times and Hours
The article examines the results of the application of law 30/03 in the light of trends in subsequent collective bargaining and the results of decisions made by the Cgil on the matter. Remarks are given on some inquiries conducted by Istat and other institutes on the influence of measures introduced by law 30 on the Italian labour market. The results obtained highlight that bargaining has mostly complied with the indications set by Cgil and that hints at a general weakening of Italian occupation are becoming visible, due mainly to the increasing rate of forward contracts, especially in the case of female occupation. It is thus necessary to radically modify current legislation.only subscribers can see the full article

Europe. Work-life Balance in the Consultation Process of the European Social Partners

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The article examines how the need to successfully reconcile paid work, family responsibilities and private life, an idea summed up in the term «work-life balance», is now part of the political and union debate and has become one of the aims of the European social agenda. The analysis concentrates mainly on the European unions and seeks to bring out the distance between the fine words of community law and the actual state of things. It examines in particular the first two stages of the consultation process of the European social partners, launched by the Commission in 2006 and still developing at the time of writing. The article concludes with a comparison between the polices passed in the countries of northern and southern Europe.only subscribers can see the full article
Keywords: Europe :: trade union :: reconciliation ::

Sandro Del Fattore

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I want first of all to consider a question: what made Cgil decide to take up the subject of integrated policies? We came to that point trying above all to understand what were the most critical features of the traditional welfare system compared with present innovations in this economic and social context. We set off in this direction because we were convinced that welfare is best defended if its critical features are rationally identified and new proposals put forward. Let us analyse some of its characteristics. First, we all know about the extraordinary changes in technology and production that have revolutionised the modern world, starting from the field of computers and communications. We also know about the potential of technology to provide greater autonomy, planning capacity for the workers themselves, and opportunities for a qualified job or a job that is deliberately chosen.only subscribers can see the full article

The Unions' Public-Interest Role

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The unions originated and developed as organisations in defence of professional interests, but in some countries this basic aim has been supplemented by another pursuing general interests. In some countries the unions’ activities on behalf of the whole community are officially recognised, while in others the unions themselves began to perform them spontaneously. Widespread throughout Europe, the phenomenon has always been particularly marked in Italy. The essay examines the public-spiritedness of the Italian unions, its origins and development, the main areas in which it is expressed, and the advantages and disadvantages of this way of pursuing public interests. The conclusion aims to bring out the benefits that would derive from a fuller implementation of the principles of the constitution.only subscribers can see the full article
Keywords: trade union :: Italy :: public interest ::

Germany. Ig Metall and the Arduous Search for a Balance between Salaries and Working Time

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in the issue
Times and Hours
The article analyses developments in German union policy in the metal sector in the light of economic and contextual changes which characterised the 90s and the effects produced on industrial relations. The consequences of the partial loss of union power have become evident with the rise in derogations on the collective agreements and in the impossibility of their «automatic» application in the enterprises. The most recent example of this deterioration is represented by the signing of the collective contract called «Pforzheim» in 2004, made possible by the considerable pressure posed by the possibility to export production sites thereby saddling with productivity and competitively costs , not only in terms of wages but also working times.only subscribers can see the full article

Paolo Ferrero

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First of all I’d like to thank you for your invitation to contribute to this Forum. Various problems seem to have emerged, and I’d like to try and talk about them. Apart from some criticisms relating to questions of organisation, I particularly want to draw attention to a specific problem, that of the essential levels of care, with special reference to the question of non-self-sufficiency. I want to talk about it in cultural as well as political terms, though in this latter sense our policy on this should start to be implemented in the next few months. I start from one element for evaluating the present situation. It seems to me obvious that — and here I agree with the judgments given — the social sector is much less protected in the constitution than the health sector. Traditionally there has always been a strong difference in the level of services in our country.only subscribers can see the full article

Reasons to Propose a Law on Non Self-Sufficiency

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The pensioners’ unions Spi-Cgil, Fnp-Cisl and Uilp-Uil have decided to promote an act on non self-sufficiency. The reasons for this choice stem from the need to prevent, contrast and accompany this phenomenon which is on the rise, involving more than 2,800,000 Italian citizens and their families. The national government has not yet provided a suitable, effective response to requirements stemming from the «risk» of non self-sufficiency, leaving the system of local autonomies and individuals to cover the expenses resulting from the phenomenon. The matter has enormous impact. The act proposes a project to deal with the phenomenon starting from everyday life scenarios; prospecting a definition of non self-sufficiency and assessment modalities, indicating essential rights and guaranteeing their homogeneous application throughout the country; proposing an individualised plan, integrated services and a system to make care workers providing services to the non self-sufficient responsible. The national in-tervention plan proposed is supported by a national fund for non self-sufficiency financed through general taxation and capable of giving a concrete response to social essential levels.only subscribers can see the full article

Unions (and) Welfare in a Historical Perspective

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The article deals with the relation between union action and the development of welfare, from the first forms of union health assistance down to the more recent changes that are affecting labour regulations. The first part reviews some of the main national experiences that accompanied the development of health assistance along with the first programmes for social protection on the cusp of the XIX and XX centuries. This means examining the expansionist period of Fordist welfare, concentrating on the forms of union involvement in the functioning of the national welfare states. The analysis continues, looking at the changes that marked the crisis of Fordist welfare and the reform processes connected with the new paradigm of active welfare. In particular, it considers the changes that concern union action in the new framework of activation processes, with reference to the practices and forms of involvement - Ghent system/bilateralism - that seem most responsive to the need to reinforce the active intervention of the unions in the labour market.only subscribers can see the full article

The long march in the trade unions: from enrolment as immigrants to involvement as workers

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In Italy there are now about one million immigrant workers who are trade-union members. Various researchers have spoken of an Italian peculiarity in this connection, due to the particular commitment of the Italian unions to helping and accompanying migrants in the process of social, administrative and political integration, in which it is often difficult even to exercise their recognized rights. The article brings out how this success, in a context of profound changes in the labour market and employment structure, now makes it particularly urgent for the unions to face the problem of meeting the growing request for participation that is emerging from the immigrant component of Italian workers.only subscribers can see the full article

Achille Passoni

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I want first of all to dwell on some questions that were dealt with today by the Minister for Social Policy, Paolo Ferrero, which, quite honestly, I find difficult to share. First of all, the question of the Social Policy Fund. The resources to transfer to the Regions in 2007, compared with those transferred in 2006, have indeed increased — and we much appreciate this — but only to an extent equal to the cuts made by the previous government last year. That means that the Fund now stands at the same figure as in 2004. Substantially, there has been no additional investment since then down to the end of 2007. And this means that social policies and combating poverty are not seen as a priority by the new Centre-Left government. The Minister will agree with me that this is not at all good news. only subscribers can see the full article