Urgent state of attack on the world of labour
italy / switzerland |
Wednesday July 16, 2008 15:48 by FdCA Labour Commission - Federazione dei Comunisti Anarchici internazionale at fdca dot it
FdCA Labour Commission statement
Among the various "urgent" matters set out in the articles of the Italian government's latest executive order, some stand out as being apparently incongruous, such as the re-financing of military missions, the abrogation of local housing tax, a boost for the high-speed TAV train line, funding for oil and gas exploration in the Adriatic and for nuclear research, and further donations to the bosses in the form of greater flexibility and precarity.
Urgent state of attack on the world of labour
With an emergency decree [executive order], the Italian government put the brakes on public spending, on any room for manoevre in contract bargaining, on the management of public services, on the hopes for work of hundreds of thousands of precarious workers, and on union relations in the public sector. It has also heralded a gloomy future by fixing the rate of planned inflation at 1.7% and drawing up a five-year financial plan in such a way that everything is already decided with no room for bargaining. While the conditions of the working class are worsening at frightening speed, we are now faced with these "Urgent measures for economic development, simplification, competitiveness, the stabilization of public finances and the equal distribution of taxes" (1).
This is the name of the emergency decree with which capitalism and the Italian State will act to rationalize the world of labour, public and private.
For economic development and competitiveness, read spending cuts on staff and on the efficiency of public administration, but also an increase in taxation at local level; for simplification, read deregulation, with worrying repercussions on staff management, recruiting and union relations.
The extension of flexibility and and precarity pervades the whole document, even to the extent of dusting off certain aspects of Law 30 that had never been activated. The forecast of €17bn in cuts is partially covered by increases in tariffs and in the cost of local social services (transport, healthcare, assistance, creches, school canteens, teaching staff, etc.).
Among the various "urgent" matters set out in the headings of the decree's articles, some stand out as being apparently incongruous, such as the re-financing of military missions, the abrogation of local housing tax, a boost for the high-speed TAV train line, funding for oil and gas exploration in the Adriatic and for nuclear research, and further donations to the bosses in the form of greater flexibility and precarity.
Article 23: Apprenticeships. These can last for up to 6 years and the minimum of 2 years has been removed. The length of the apprenticeships to be decided by all concerned parties on the basis of the needs of the sector and professional profiles. Total flexibility foreseen.
Article 71: Sick leave and other forms of leave for public sector employees. An attack on the so-called "layabouts". During the first 10 days of absence, only the basic wage is paid. If the illness lasts longer, certification is in the hands of a public health body. People on sick leave must now be available for inspection in their homes for a total of 11 hours per day (from 8am to 1pm and from 2pm to 8pm, including Sundays and holidays). The measures on paid leave are particularly revolting: leave for family or personal reasons, or under Law 104 (the protection of persons with serious handicaps) are now limited to a certain number of hours, not days.
Article 36: Class actions. The law concerning collective actions for damages will come into force in 2009. Maybe. Both the State and private companies can, in the meantime, prepare themselves to make the law inoperable.
Article 22: One-off, occasional work contracts. Confirmation of the use of acessorial labour for activities of an occasional nature for family businesses, limited to commerce, tourism and services, or in the domestic field, gardening, cleaning and maintenance of buildings, parks and monuments, supplementary private teaching, sports events, cultural events, charity events, emergency or solidarity work, seasonal agricultural work. Trying to show they care for people, while increasing flexibility throughout society.
Article 21: Limited duration work contracts. Introduction of greater freedom on the part of the contracting parties to establish ad hoc conditions, even in contradiction with other legislation. The use of such contracts need not be limited to exceptional situations, simply to objective needs, including the ordinary running of the employer's activity.
Article 7: Energy. The most obvious point is the gloomy reference to developing nuclear energy plants in the country.
Article 64: Teachers. 140,000 jobs to be cut between 2009 and 2011 with a saving of €456m in 2009, €1,650m in 2010, €2,538m in 2011 and €3,188m from 2012. Cutbacks.
Article 63, section 3: Scholastic institutions. Money made available to allow these institutions to acquire indispensable goods and services in order to maintain a minimum level of efficiency in their administrative and technical functions.
Article 49: Flexible labour in the public administration. For temporary and exceptional purposes, public administrations can make use of those forms of flexible labour contracts for the hiring and employment of staff that are permitted by legislation on employment in businsses. At this stage, of course, "temporary and exceptional purposes" are the norm. More cuts.
Article 63, section 1: Peace-keeping missions. €90m for the re-financing of Italian participation in international peace-keeping missions, extending the term from August to 31 December 2008.
Article 41: Working hours. Abrogation of the worker's obligation to forward his or her resignation to the Department of Employment. A new, single Employment Register is instituted, containing a record of all workers (on all forms of full-time, part-time or other contracts). Class unity in a register.
Article 74: State sector organization. Re-organization of State administration organizational staff, on the basis of efficiency, rationality and cost. Cuts, basically.
Article 73: Part-time work. The transformation from full-time to part-time falls under the discretion of administrations, who can reject it where the administrations good functioning could be affected. Savings deriving from this transformation will be used to incentivize staff mobility only in administrations that can demonstrate their adoption of mobility and re-allocation projects by means of transfers of staff from one office to another. An attack on female workers and their enjoyment of free time.
Article 39: Employment conditions. Institution of a single Employment Register for all employees, to record all payments in money or in kind made by or managed by the employers. Penalties in the case of violations.
Article 18: Staff recruitment to public companies. Allows the companies that manage publically-owned public local services to adopt staff recruitment and allocation criteria and methods that respect the principles of transparency, openness and impartiality. Freedom to make cuts.
Article 17: Striving for excellence. The Fondazione IRI (2) is to be closed from 1st July 2008. Its holdings are to be devolved to the Fondazione Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia to finance research programmes in the country and the creation of an infrastructure network for high technology research in the main public and private research centres. The State paying for industry's research.
Article 78: Rome. The mayor of Rome is appointed as an Extraordinary Commissar of the government in order to set up and operate a plan to reduce the municipal debt. The Municipality of Rome will receive a handout of €500m. Caput mundi.
Article 79: Healthcare spending. Current levels of spending are confirmed for 2009. For 2010 and 2011, spending to be drastically reduced. Do not get sick.
Article 83, section 19: "Studi di settore" (business sector analyses) (4). As part of the new system of fiscal federalism to be introduced on 1st January 209, these analyses will also be carried out on a regional or local level, where compatible. The Lega Nord poking its nose in.
Article 12: TAV (high-speed train network). Companies working on the TAV have their licences renewed, allowing work to continue.
Article 40: Employment documents. Upon commencement of a new job, public and private employers are now obliged to provide employees with a copy of confirmation of employment before work commences. This obligation does not apply to employers who provide employees with a copy of an individual work contract containing all the necessary information. The worker as client.
Article 70: Additional benefits for job-related infirmity. The law which provided for additional payments of between 2.5% and 1.25% in such cases has been abolished. These benefits were over and above the compensation received by employees whose infirmity was due to job-related causes. Kicking the workers while they're down.
Article 66: Turn-over. For the year 2009, public administrations may hire staff on unlimited duration work contracts to replace up to 10% (20% in 2006) of staff leaving. For the years 2010 and 2011, the limit is 20% of the numbers leaving the previous year (previously it was set at 60% and 100% respectively). For the year 2012 the limit is 50% of turnover (down from 100%). From 2013 on, in an attempt to give a structure to the savings, new staff will be limited to the number that left in the previous year (not to the number of vacancies). Cuts.
Article 16: Universities. Public universities can choose to transform themselves into private foundations. University foundations are non-commercial bodies whose aims are regulated by law and who operate in compliance with the principles of economic viability. The State getting out. Staff cuts.
Article 20: Contributions. Extension of maternity and sickness insurance (but limited to workers in the lowest category) to employees of State companies, privatized public, local authority and joint public-private bodies, currently excluded from the obligation. Extension of insurance against involuntary unemployment and mobility to employees of companies carrying out public services. Charity handout.
Article 19: Income from pensions and work. From 1st January 2009 men under 65 and women under 60 will be able to receive a pension and continue to work. Fewer jobs for young people.
Article 8: Oil and gas deposits. Renewed opportunities to exploit natural gas deposits in the Upper Adriatic and easier conditions for the exploitation of so-called marginal deposits. The current ban on research into hydrocarbons remains in place until such times as the Cabinet ascertains definitively the absence of appreciable risks to coasts. The environment... what's that?
Article 85: Effects of this decree. Executive Order No.112 of 25th June 2008 ("Disposizioni urgenti per lo sviluppo economico, la semplificazione, la competitività, la stabilizzazione della finanza pubblica e la perequazione Tributaria"), published as ordinary supplement No.152 to the Official Gazzette on 25th June 2008, comes into effect on 25th June 2008.
FEDERAZIONE DEI COMUNISTI ANARCHICI
8 July 2008
1. "Disposizioni urgenti per lo sviluppo economico, la semplificazione, la competitività, la stabilizzazione della finanza pubblica e la perequazione Tributaria".
2. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Istituto_per_la_Ricostruzione_Industriale
4. "Studi di Settore" are a form of audit used by the Italian tax authorities to calculate reference revenue levels for small businesses, based on audits of selected businesses.