Di seguito il commento del Financial Times sul “Jobs Act” di Renzi, con una mia breve riflessione sulla vera sfida di Renzi, ovvero le posizioni degli stessi parlamentari PD sul tema del lavoro.
Here is the recent analysis of Matteo Renzi’s “Jobs Act” published by the Financial Times. The article also mentions my views on Renzi’s proposals and my concerns over his ability to gather the necessary support within his own party.
The Financial Times, 14 Gennaio 2014
Matteo Renzi’s jobs plan faces political quagmire in Italy
by Guy Dinmore
For many Italians leaving education and facing a youth unemployment rate that has doubled to more than 40 per cent since the onset of the financial crisis, the best route to finding a job is a one-way ticket out of the country. Towns like Oristano in Sardinia bear testimony to this exodus where, compounded by one of the lowest birth rates among developed economies, the population has shrunk by some 15 per cent in just over a decade. Chances are that your cappuccino in London is being prepared by a real Italian.
Enrico Letta, centre-left prime minister, says unemployment, which has hit 12.7 per cent nationally, the highest in over three decades, is his “nightmare”. On Thursday, Matteo Renzi, 39-year-old reformist mayor of Florence and newly elected leader of the Democratic party, is to unveil his Jobs Act – “a radical change” to shake up Italy’s labour market. Announcing the outlines for public consultation last month, Mr Renzi – who is open about his ambitions to replace Mr Letta – said Italy had wasted the opportunity presented by the crisis to become more competitive. “Now we cannot squander the recovery,” he said.
Many details remain to be clarified but Mr Renzi’s plan is to make the labour market more flexible and dynamic – by granting new hires less protection in their first two or so years of employment; simplifying a complex system of contracts and myriad labour codes; introducing a more universal welfare system; cutting the cost of labour by reducing taxes; lowering energy costs and focusing incentives on sectors with a future rather than dying industries. Leading a mission of foreign executives in Rome last week, Sir Martin Sorrell, head of the UK’s WPP advertising company, identified reforms to Italy’s relatively rigid and expensive labour market as their biggest priority for making investments. Despite losing over a quarter of industrial output since 2008, Italy’s labour costs have continued to soar, largely because of taxes.
According to the Paris-based OECD, Italy’s costs have risen by 36.2 per cent since 2000, compared with 11.4 per cent in Germany and 25.2 per cent in Spain whose labour reforms passed in 2012 making it easier and cheaper to fire workers are being watched closely in Rome. Labour reforms are hugely controversial in Italy, to the point of being fatal. The leftwing militant Red Brigades shot dead Massimo D’Antona, a university professor advising a centre-left government in 1999, and in 2002 killed Marco Biagi who was working on reforms for then centre-right prime minister Silvio Berlusconi.
The threat of political violence has diminished but a jobs-for-life culture remains entrenched among trade unions, while business lobbies jealously protect their interests. The Chambers of Commerce reacted angrily to a proposal to abolish mandatory company registration, which would help simplify processes and reduce costs, while senior civil servants oppose Mr Renzi’s plan to eliminate lifetime tenure for public sector managers. Such opposition explains why then technocrat prime minister Mario Monti was forced to dilute his reform plans in 2012. Gianluca Spina, dean of the business school of Milan’s Politecnico university, says Mr Renzi’s Jobs Act so far is a “fuzzy patchwork”.“On contracts and rights for fired workers he is moving in the right direction. But the details could turn into a disaster,” Mr Spina says.
“Renzi’s ideas are good,” says Andrea Romano, a senior politician in Civic Choice, a small centrist party founded by Mr Monti which supports Mr Letta’s coalition. “But Renzi’s challenge is whether he can convince his own party which until now has opposed freeing up the Italian job market,” Mr Romano adds. He hopes the new generation of Mr Renzi’s young advisers “will be free of the ideological constraints that have limited the party’s capacity for reform”. Renzi’s challenge is whether he can convince his own party which until now has opposed freeing up the Italian job market.
Irene Tinagli, a Civic Choice MP and economist on parliament’s labour commission, asks how Mr Renzi is going to win over his party’s own politicians on that body who are tied to the main leftwing CGIL trade union. She also points out that Pietro Ichino, a labour reform expert who quit the Democrats in frustration ahead of last year’s elections, has similar proposals before parliament that have been blocked by the main parties from reaching the agenda. She is also concerned that Mr Renzi is watering down his plan, while avoiding changes to the controversial article 18 of the labour statute protecting workers in companies of over 15 employees from dismissal on economic grounds. Originally Mr Renzi proposed simplifying labour regulations within three months. Now he suggests eight. “Eight months will be too late. We will be in elections again,” Ms Tinagli says.
Just when Italy will return to the polls is the question dominating the political scene. Mr Renzi’s first priority is to pass a new electoral law. He has also distanced himself from Mr Letta’s plans to reshuffle his cabinet, a reluctance to engage that is seen by analysts as intended to keep his hand free to push for elections sooner than the prime minister’s 2015 timetable. In that case his much heralded Jobs Act is unlikely to see the light of day soon.