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Key Facts

Population2,041,763
Collective Bargaining Coverage 34%
Proportion of Employees in Unions 13%
Principal Level of Collective Bargaining

company

Workplace Representation

union – although possible to elect other representatives

Board-level Representation

no

Company Board Structure

dualistic

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

United Kingdom  United Kingdom

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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Board-level Representation

UK employees have no statutory right to representation at board level and, with a tiny handful of exceptions, this has also been the case in practice.

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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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Health and Safety Representation

 

In workplaces where they negotiate with the employer, unions have the right to appoint safety representatives to represent the interests of employees in the area of health and safety. In non-union workplaces the employer decides whether employee representatives for health and safety should be elected, or alternatively whether employees should be consulted directly. Non-union health and safety representatives have fewer powers than those appointed by the union, as they cannot undertake workplace inspections. Union safety representatives, but not non-union ones, can also require the employer to set up a safety committee.

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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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Trade Unions

There is one trade union confederation in Latvia, the LBAS, and almost all significant unions belong to it. Union density is relatively low, at about 13%, and is much higher in the public than in the private sector.

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Workplace Representation

Employee representation at the workplace is either through unions or through elected workplace representatives. However, with low levels of union membership, particularly in the private sector, and a reluctance among employees to elect workplace representatives, most workplaces have no employee representation at all.

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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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