'I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free'
Thursday, 28 June 2012
Bringing Work Home
Last night the Italian parliament broke the stranglehold that trades union special interest groups had upon the politics of labour. The vote showed too that the Prime Minister maintains his commanding majority in the House.
The conditions under which those with jobs work was not much altered: what changed was the mind set accepted as normal, and the opening to debate and reset of what had been set in stone - literally constitutional stone - on the determining of relations between employer and employee.
'Italy is a democratic republic based on labour.'
states Article 1 of the Constitution. Article 4 persists:
'The republic recognizes the right of all citizens to work and
promotes conditions to fulfill this right. According to capability and choice, every citizen has the duty to
undertake an activity or a function that will contribute to the material
and moral progress of society. '
Unexceptionable, positively praiseworthy; except that the political parties of the Left, some wholly undemocratic such as the Communist Party, and the Socialist Party (yes, of course they're still there, factions within the Democratic Party) together with their trade union offshoots, had set themselves up as arbiters of how those Articles would be fulfilled, and as sole representatives of the people when it came to work and working conditions. Steadily they entrenched into law demands wholly destructive of work but highly advantageous to those who achieved a job - 'il posto'. Increasingly recourse against work offered that was not compliant with their policies (and they had established a very large say indeed over labour policy) was to the courts, a much less difficult and doubtful route to their objectives than industrial action from a reluctant workforce so unhappy with the undemocratic nature of the political caste and the pressure groups and lobbyists that 'represented' their 'interests'.
Now, perhaps, firms in Italy that need to grow above 15 employees (and there are many, Italian entrepreneurship is notably family-based and grows from the success of such small companies) will stop either deliberately limiting growth to avoid falling under regulation inappropriate even to 20th century industrial production, and even to public sector employment - or relocating their companies in Serbia, Croatia, Bulgaria, Romania and other parts of the Italian diaspora. In those places work is work, there are government incentives through taxes and resource allocations, a well-educated, skilled workforce, and long-established connections with Italy.
Across the Adriatic is not abroad; nor is it home though. The first blow for people to find work at home and speak for themselves on terms and conditions has been enacted. It is further deregulation that will end increasing de-localisation of activity and and deliberate restriction on growth.