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Signing of the ‘Public sector employment innovation and social cohesion pact’

10 March 2021

The signing ceremony for the ‘Public sector employment innovation and social cohesion pact’ was held today at Palazzo Chigi, with President of the Council of Ministers Mario Draghi, Minister for Public Administration Renato Brunetta and the secretaries-general of trade union organisations Maurizio Landini (CGIL), Luigi Sbarra (CISL) and Pierpaolo Bombardieri (UIL). 

[The following video is available in Italian only]

A summary of the 'Public sector employment innovation and social cohesion pact’ is provided below.

Context and objectives of the Pact

The Pact forms part of an action plan to relaunch the country, the key objectives of which are to modernise the Italian economic system as a whole and boost social cohesion, based on the extraordinary opportunity provided by the National Recovery and Resilience Plan (NRRP).
Innovation and cohesion are the core objectives of the historic NextGenerationEU programme, to be pursued simultaneously. A more modern country can, in fact, offer its citizens better services and greater development opportunities; likewise, a more cohesive country can ensure that everyone feels part of the innovation process, with all benefiting from common efforts.

All reforms and public investments contained in the NRRP will be based on the key pillars of social cohesion and sound job creation.

These priorities are crucial to overcome the health, economic and social emergency, as underlined by President of the Italian Republic Sergio Mattarella, and require an extraordinary commitment in terms of financing, planning and implementation, with the driving force being provided by the men and women who work for the Public Administration. 

In this context, the Pact aims to strengthen the Public Administration by simplifying processes and making massive human capital investments. These measures are key to mitigating Italy’s historical disparities and reducing public and private sector dualism, at the same time as providing solutions to citizens’ new and changing needs.

The Pact sets the fundamental goals of the innovation process: to ensure organisational flexibility of public administrations and to increase their speed of action. The parties undertake to pursue these goals, with particular reference to three dimensions: work, organisation and technology. 

A decisive factor in this strategy is the definition of contractual smart working regulations, and this is heading in the direction that trade union organisations have been pushing for since the start of the pandemic crisis.

In order to be successful, Public Administration innovation and reform processes require not only appropriate investments in digitalisation, but also active employee involvement.

In this regard, the Pact recognises the need to launch a new period of labour relations, based on dialogue with the various organisations, and to complete the renewal of collective agreements for the 2019-2021 three-year period, as these are considered to be a fundamental political and social investment.

Building a new and modern Public Administration must also be based on the development of human resources, introducing professional growth paths and training schemes, as well as on skills mapping in order to plan staffing requirements and recruitment.

The Pact therefore states that all public sector workers must be personally entitled/obliged to receive continuous training, allowing them to play a real part in the transformation process, and that the Public Administration must use top-quality, suitable and certified training courses.      

Key points of the Pact

  1. The Government shall provide ‘ARAN’ [the Italian Government agency that represents public administrations in national collective bargaining with trade unions] with specific guidelines for the relaunch of negotiations. Renewal of collective agreements for the 2019-2021 three-year period refers to over three million public sector workers and shall involve the pay equalisation element becoming part of basic pay. The Government shall then define legislative measures to encourage decentralised bargaining and to abolish the system of caps on additional pay elements.
  2. With reference to smart working, future national collective agreements must include regulations and salary provisions able to guarantee transparent employment terms and conditions, boost productivity and encourage a results-oriented approach, balancing workers’ needs with public administrations’ organisational requirements. There will therefore be regulations in place for aspects regarding the protection of trade union rights, labour relations and employment relationships, such as the right to disconnect, times of availability, the right to specific training, personal data protection, special leave and absences.
  3. Based on the collective agreements for the 2019-2021 three-year period, there will then be a review of professional positions and rules of practice for staff, using additional resources from the 2022 budget law and adapting contractual arrangements to the need for new professional profiles and skills. It is also necessary to recognise the importance of specific non-management positions requiring specialist skills and to extend systems that reward expertise developed over time, also through appropriate legislative changes.
  4. The Government undertakes to define wide-ranging training policies, with particular reference to improving digital competences and specific advanced professional skills. Training and reskilling will be seen as strategic investments, no longer as mere cost items.
  5. As part of new collective agreements, systems to take part in trade unions will be adapted, enhancing organisational tools for participation and the role of supplementary bargaining.
  6. The parties agree on the need to implement contractual welfare provisions, with reference to support for parents and extending tax incentives already available in the private sector to public sector workers, regarding supplementary pension schemes and  reward systems aimed at improving services.