Collective bargaining pays off in Italy

Since the three Italian trade union confederations CGIL, CISL and UIL came together to sign a new industrial relations agreement in January 2016, giving a fresh impetus to national and secondary level collective bargaining, 62 national sector deals have been concluded.

Over 55% of Italian workers have obtained pay rises of up to 5.4%. In addition, more than 21,000 secondary level deals have been signed, with pay rises connected to productivity gains and therefore eligible for tax relief.

However, workers in the public sector, in large retail distribution, telecommunications and services (a large proportion of them women) are still waiting for new collective agreements.

“Even at times of crisis, Italian collective bargaining, based on two levels, has shown itself to be the main instrument to guarantee income and rights for workers,” said the confederal secretaries of the three bodies – Franco Martini for CGIL, Gianni Petteni for CISL and Tiziana Bocchi for UIL – in a joint statement. “The renewal of collective agreements signed by CGIL, CISL and UIL has increased the purchasing power of workers and benefitted households. At the same time, secondary level collective agreements have helped to redistribute the wealth produced by enterprises and to improve their competitiveness and productivity as well.”