UNI GS in Italy to learn about sectoral bargaining victories, key issues for country’s union movement
With sectoral bargaining under attack in much of Europe, Italian finance workers won a recent victory with a new collective agreement covering some 282,000 bank employees in the country.
UNI General Secretary Christy Hoffman is in Italy today to meet with UNI affiliates about key issues facing the country’s labour movement generally, and she took this opportunity to congratulate Italian finance unions on their sectoral success.
“Sectoral bargaining plays a vital role in improving working conditions within a company and reducing inequality within our societies,” said Hoffman. “The achievements of the finance sector here demonstrate that sectoral bargaining can play a big role in finding solutions to the impact of digitalization.”
The renewal of the agreement, in December 2019, includes several wins:
- an average pay increase of 190 EUR/month, over the life of the three-year agreement;
- the creation of a bipartite special committee to monitor and analyse the impact of digitalisation and new technologies on bank sector jobs and establish joint solutions;
- equal opportunity guarantees and more rights for part-time workers and for those on maternity, paternity and adoption leave;
- new measures to protect bank workers selling financial products and the right for trade unions to receive the bank’s sales policy;
- guidelines for smart working, including on health and safety, privacy and access to training;
- and a stronger commitment to healthy workplaces and to respecting work/life balance, including the right to disconnect.
The advancements made in this sectoral agreement are particularly important for Italian finance workers, who have seen working conditions erode in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis and faces challenges regarding digitalization.
“The finance and banking industries are rapidly changing, and this agreement includes many of the necessary safeguards so that these changes can benefit employees and communities,” Giuliano Calcagni, General Secretary of FISAC CGIL. “This means that workers can spend more time with their families, make a better wage, and have protections against selling irresponsible financial products.”
The Italian unions are using the momentum in finance to push for better jobs in other industries, and the country’s insurance sector unions are currently renegotiating their collective agreement.