Minimum wage, what’s in the new Catalfo bill on which Conte calls for “the convergence of all”. Small bar at 9 euros gross, valorisation of the prevailing national contracts

Minimum wage, what’s in the new Catalfo bill on which Conte calls for “the convergence of all”. Small bar at 9 euros gross, valorisation of the prevailing national contracts
Minimum wage, what’s in the new Catalfo bill on which Conte calls for “the convergence of all”. Small bar at 9 euros gross, valorisation of the prevailing national contracts

While the government Draghi is preparing to launch a maneuver that dedicates at least one third of the available resources to cutting the tax wedge, in Parliament the discussion on the minimum salary. The Senate Labor Committee has begun examining the new bill on the minimum salary filed in the Senate last spring by the senator M5s ed by the minister Nunzia Catalfo, that the first bill on the matter had already presented it in 2014. The key points? To be “enough e proportionate the quantity and quality of the work performed “, as foreseen by the Constitution, the pay can not be inferior to that provided for by national collective agreement in force for sector of reference and stipulated “by comparatively more representative employers ‘and employers’ associations nationally “. And in any case it cannot go below 9 euros gross so, figure that today 3.5 million private employees, 600 thousand domestic workers and 370 thousand agricultural workers do not reach. The leader of the Movement Giuseppe Conte he hoped that the text would include “the convergence of all ”, given that based on the data OECD “We are the only ones in Europe so i salary I’m decreased over the past 30 years“.

At the end of September, on the generic need to fix a minimum, an axis with the Pd, but the devil is in the details: in the past the dems had presented less generous proposals than the M5s one and they do not seem willing to sign a text that sets the bar at 9 euros gross, an intermediate figure between 50% of the average salary and the 60% of median salary but that would position Italy to the first places in Europe despite one labor productivity in continuous decline. Unrealistic? Sure businesses should support costs notable, but some economists who study the mechanisms behind the functioning of capitalist economies have pointed out that wages that are too low only feed a vicious circle by incentivising companies to focus on low added value productions: on the contrary, increasing minimum wages pushes to adopt more efficient production models. More than economic, therefore, the question is political: the rest of the majority does not want to know and the government Draghi removed from the final version of the Recovery plan.

Yet in the European context Italy is an exception. A minimum wage already exists in 21 out of 27 European countries and in Germany the coalition that is working to form the new government intends to raise it to 12 euros per hour. The proposal of European directive on the matter presented by the Commission, then amended by the EU Parliament and pending the subsequent legislative passages, does not impose to establish a minimum by law, because it recognizes the primacy of collective bargaininga on wages which “plays a fundamental role in ensuring adequate minimum wage protection” given that “countries with a high coverage of collective bargaining tend to have a lower percentage of workers at low salary, minimum wages higher than the median wage, lower inequalities higher wages and wages ”. Unfortunately, however, this is not the case in Italy, where according to data Eurostat – moreover preceding the pandemic – well the 12,2% of the workers at risk of poverty, a share that has been growing for years. Accomplices the widespread involuntary part time (which mainly concerns women) and “pirate contracts”Signed by minor or convenience acronyms and characterized by considerably more economic treatments bass compared to those of the main national collective labor agreements. Some of which – see the infamous contract Private security and trust services – however, in turn provide for minimum wages below poverty line.

So what does the proposal of the former Minister Catalfo envisage on the merits? First of all, it clearly aims to support the collective bargaining and not replace it, in an attempt to answer the doubts of labor unions. At the same time, in order to give substance to the formula that enhances the “most representative associations”, it is expected to arrive at the application of “associative and electoral criteria referred to in the interconfederal agreements on measurement trade union representation “. In 2019 trade unions, Confindustria, Inps e Labor Inspectorate had signed a convention on the certification of representation based on number of subscribers e votes obtained in the elections of the RSU, entrusting the weighting of the two data. The exercise has started, but due to the pandemic, the collection of electoral data has remained suspended. In this limbo, the touchstone remains the ccnl signed by the confederal acronyms. With a limit, however: thebar of 9 euros gross.

Collective bargaining would remain free and protected, but only in a sense improvement compared to that minimum. The only exception is housework, for which reference is made to a decree of the Minister of Labor, after consulting trade unions and employers and taking the most representative collective agreement as a reference. To meet companies, the bill then provides that on an experimental basis, for the years 2022, 2023 and 2024, taxed at only 10% the salary increases related to renewal of the collective agreement national. A tripartite Commission at the Ministry of Labor – including trade unions and employers’ representatives – would then be in charge of gradually update the level minimum wage and to identify the prevailing national collective bargaining agreements. On the 9 euro gross, it must be said, the insiders have some doubts: the INPS president Pasquale Tridico in a hearing on the proposed European directive, he explained that it would be necessary to better define “what is included” in that figure, because if, for example, we also take into account thirteenth and severance pay the share of workers “below the threshold” decreases considerably. And the additional expense that employers should incur also depends on the definition that is chosen, an element that scares in particular the small and medium-sized enterprises.

% Variation in average annual wages between 1990 and 2020. Openpolis based on OECD data

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