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Italy  Italy

Key Facts

Population60,340,000
Collective Bargaining Coverage 80%
Proportion of Employees in Unions 35%
Principal Level of Collective Bargaining

industry

Workplace Representation

union

Board-level Representation

no

Company Board Structure

monistic or dualistic (choice)

Sources: see individual country sections; where a range of figures has been quoted, the lower number has been taken

Trade Unions

There are more trade unionists in Italy than in any other country in the EU. But with half the membership made up of pensioners, overall union density among employees is around a third. There are three main union confederations – CGIL, CISL and UIL – whose divisions were initially based on political differences, although these have become less clear over time.

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Collective Bargaining

Collective bargaining in the private sector in Italy primarily takes place at two levels – industry level and company level. However, changes to the system – agreed by some union confederations but not the largest – have altered the balance between the two. This has led to divisions between the unions, although the most recent developments suggest that these may be diminishing.

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Workplace Representation

The main employee representative bodies in Italy – the RSUs – are essentially union bodies, even if they are now elected by all employees. The unions nominate the candidates, although the members are directly elected by the whole workforce. The previous arrangements, which reserved a third of the seats for direct union appointment or election, have now ended

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Board-level Representation

There is no right to employee board level representation in Italy, and although new legislation proposes this could be introduced, in practice change seems unlikely.

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European-level Representation

Italian representatives on European level bodies are generally chosen by the unions and the local union body at the workplace, the RSU, although the rules vary slightly depending on the body on which the representatives sit.

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Health and Safety Representation

Safety representatives, chosen directly by the employees in smaller organisations, and by the existing trade union structures in those with more than 15 employees, provide representation for employees in the area of health and safety in Italy. There is no structure of joint employer/employee safety committees, other than a meeting with the employer and health and safety staff once a year or when there are major changes. However, Italy does have a structure of area safety representatives who cover smaller companies without their own safety representatives.

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Financial Participation

The current level of employee financial participation in Italy is one of the lowest in Europe. Although several reforms during the 1990s tried to overcome the main obstacles to a more widespread implementation of financial participation in Italy, the unanimous attitude towards such systems on the trade unions’ side and existing company legislation tend to hinder such developments. Although the plan for a new law on workers’ participation was discussed in Italy in 2011/2012, it has still not been implemented.

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