“Charles Baudelaire reminded us that ‘the world only walks through misunderstanding. It is through the universal misunderstanding that everyone agrees. For if, unfortunately, one understood each other, one could never agree ‘. For days we have witnessed a great misunderstanding regarding the ‘minimum wage by law’, which, however, just as the French poet claimed, already reveals the way to find harmony ”. This is what the Minister of Public Administration wrote, Renato Brunetta in a letter to the director of the Corriere della Sera.

WORKSHOP AMBROSETTI 2021

Minimum wage, Brunetta: “It’s a big misunderstanding, there are other solutions”

“In the public debate, three issues have been mixed which, on the other hand, must remain distinct – added Brunetta referring to the minimum wage -: the structural criticality of Italian wages, linked to low productivity and low growth; measures for the so-called ‘working poor’ and the phenomenon of ‘pirate’ contracts; interventions to counteract the reduction in the purchasing power of wages due to rising inflation ”.

“The agreement in the EU on the directive on adequate minimum wages – adds Brunetta – has been brandished by some, even among the majority, as proof of the need for a legal minimum wage, misunderstanding both the meaning of the directive and the suitability of the instrument to ‘cure’ the three evils illustrated above “.

“First of all, the directive safeguards countries, such as Italy, in which the determination of wages for more than 80% of workers is guaranteed by collective bargaining, exempting them from the obligation to introduce a legal minimum wage. Two clichés were used – adds the representative of the Executive – to impeach our bargaining system. The first concerns fragmentation, based on data from the CNEL archive: out of 1,000 contracts deposited, only 419 national collective agreements are actually used and just 162 those signed by CGIL-CISL-UIL ”.

“But – this is the serious omission – these 162 agreements cover 12.5 million employees, equal to 97% of the total of the 12.9 million employment relationships declared in Uniemens communications to INPS” continues Brunetta.

“It is proof of the substantial resilience of the collective bargaining system governed by Cgil-Cisl-Uil – wrote Minister Renato Brunetta -, which marks the difference between Italy and the rest of the OECD area countries, where in 2017 just 32% of the workers were covered by a collective agreement. It is no coincidence that the Italian ‘model’ of industrial relations is the one that the directive implicitly suggests extending, inviting Member States to strengthen bargaining. In this sense, the directive imposes nothing on our country. Because a good contract is worth much more than a minimum hourly rate “.

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