Chapter 10: Enhancing the social partners and social dialogue in the new world of work: The case of Italy
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Written before the Covid-19 crisis, the chapter, after summarizing the main features of the industrial relations system, examines through documentary analysis and interviews with protagonists how social partners and public authorities are responding to the challenges facing the system. Section 2 analyses social partners’ strategies to defend and strengthen their representative capacities. Section 3 illustrates the resilience of the traditional two-level bargaining system in a period of economic difficulties and low inflation, stressing, however, the contradiction between pressures toward decentralization and the persisting limited extension of second level negotiations, despite government incentives to promote it. It illustrates also the abnormal proliferation of national industry-wide collective agreements (‘pirate contracts’), linked to the still unresolved issue of the regulation of social partners’ representativeness in the private sector. The controversial issue of statutory minimum wage is examined as well. Section 4 analyses social partners’ initiatives to deal with digitalization. Section 5 presents brief case studies on these topics. Conclusions follow.

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