Destinations Magazine

Italy and Reform: Renzi Revisited

By Stizzard
Italy and reform: Renzi revisited

THE Sala Verde (green room) in the prime minister’s official residence, Palazzo Chigi, in Rome has in the past been the scene of three-way talks between the government, the unions and employers that lasted for days. It was to this chamber that Matteo Renzi, the present prime minister, invited representatives of both sides on October 7th to discuss a revamped employment bill crucial to his government’s credibility as a liberalising administration. He gave them each 60 minutes, starting at 8am. “Only once before has [such] an absence of social dialog been seen in Europe,” spluttered Susanna Camusso, leader of the biggest trade union federation. “With Thatcher.”But in Italy, where “face” can be as important as it is in several East Asian countries, appearances are one thing and substance another. The employment bill, which passed its first test in the Senate a day later, is far from Thatcherite. It aims to give most new employees gradually increasing job security, potentially improving the lot of young Italians who now often work only on short-term contracts. But it leaves to enabling legislation the fate of Article 18, an emblematic provision in Italian labor law that makes it almost…

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