Food industry collective agreement, Confindustria splits over renewal

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The 2019-2023 National Collective Bargaining Agreement for the food industry has come to be signed, at the dawn of August 1, 2020. But only 3 of the 14 industry associations that are members of Federalimentare have signed the renewal. Confindustria splits.

Food industry, the new collective agreement

The new contract, after 9 months of negotiations, was signed between the trade unions-Flai CGIL, Fai Cisl, Uila Uil-and the associations Unionfood (president Marco Lavazza, deputy Paolo Barilla), Ancit (fish canneries) and AssoBirra.

The renewal includes the following changes in the economic part:

-119 euros, when fully implemented, salary increase,

– 5 euros for welfare,

– 30 euros to be paid to workers excluded from second-level bargaining (supplementary contract).

The agreement, according to the unions, is ‘qualifying and of great value’ and represents the benchmark CCNL. Even for the 11 associations that refused to sign it shortly before the conclusion of negotiations. (1)

Those who oppose

The associations that have left the union bargaining table are Assocarni, UnaItalia, Anicav, Assalzoo, Assica, Assitol, Assobibe, Assolatte, Federvini, Italmopa and Mineracqua.

The reasons for the rift are procurement, wages and union representation of ‘B’ workers.

Flai CGIL, through its secretary Giovanni Mininni, explains to il Manifesto:

We posed the need that we need to intervene within the company perimeter by recognizing union rights even for workers who are contracted out and who do not directly apply our contract. (…) In the new contract we have included a stringent rule on these procurements.

And then we intervened on the site community, another hotly contested point, where we provided the possibility for workers in these companies to have assembly at the time of contract renewal. Inclusive bargaining is the essential point to recover in the company the fact that everyone should have the same rights by doing the same work. This contract inserts important regulations that vigorously address this problem.

On wages Federalimentare, and a part of the associations it represents, was thinking of much lower figures. Behind it was Confindustria, which went on a rampage by exerting enormous and undue pressure and tried to prevent the sector from bargaining with its specificities in mind. Food has developed enormous productivity in recent years that has not been redistributed and now needs to be recovered‘. (2)

A step forward

Protecting the rights of workers employed through contractors-often through multiservice cooperatives-is a major innovation. Even in the food industry, in fact, the use of useful ploys to multiply profits is rampant, on the backs of workers.

It recalls the Italpizza case, with the protest of female workers employed in pizza filling but hired through cooperatives under the contract of cleaners. And there are reports of ongoing labor unrest at Eurospin, Italy’s leading discount store chain, over a lack of dialogue between ownership and union representatives. (3) Not forgetting the ‘white-collar corporations,’ in slaughterhouses and meat processing plants in Germany, where poor living and working conditions have triggered new outbreaks of Covid-19.

Federalimentare on the fruit

Ten years were enough for Mario Piccialuti – then director of AIDI (Association of Italian Confectionery Industries) – to incorporate first the representation of the pasta industry (UNIPI), then that of another 15 or so product sectors (AIIPA). To the point of forming the first-level association giant Unionfood, whose members include 450 companies with 35 billion euros in turnover (10 of which are exports) and 65 thousand employees, in 20 product sectors.

Other small associations-such as Assobirra and Ancit, which have signed contract renewals, and several others-may decide to join the giant. The large associations representing the animal products industries and their respective feeds (Assolatte, Assocarni, Assica, UnaItalia, Assalzoo) are in turn destined to aggregate their interests in a separate framework.

In an Italy with 7,903 municipalities, the failure of Federalimentare is thus being consummated in the homeland of particularism and power chords. An unmistakable sign of which is the failure to reach an agreement on the one aspect that had bound the industry associations together from the beginning, the collective agreement precisely. And it is lifelong observer Emanuele Scarci who reports to a ‘shadow federation’. (4) A disappointment for those who had believed in it, such as Presidents Emeritus Giorgio Sampietro, Luigi Rossi di Montelera, and Giandomenico Auricchio. And those who worked there for a decade with great passion and spirit of service, such as the writer (Dongo).

Dario Dongo and Marta Strinati

Notes

(1) Drafting Ansa. Flai Fai Uila sign renewal Ccnl food industry. 31.7.2020 Ansa

(2) Roberto Ciccarelli,
Giovanni Mininni (Flai CGIL): ‘Ready to strike, we will not accept to parcel out the sector’
. the Manifesto 1/8/20

(3)
Eurospin’s 15 thousand employees are in a state of agitation
. Varese News 30/7/20

(4) Emanuele Scarci. Unionfood signs new labor contract, but Federalimentare says it doesn’t apply. Close to separation? Companies in the field. 31/7/20

Professional journalist since January 1995, he has worked for newspapers (Il Messaggero, Paese Sera, La Stampa) and periodicals (NumeroUno, Il Salvagente). She is the author of journalistic surveys on food, she has published the book "Reading labels to know what we eat".