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Italians seek more transparent market30th of April 2012
Anna Garbagna reports from Italy on a meeting in Milan designed to encourage dialogue.
Milan was the venue for a meeting last month organised by Onbsi (Integrated Systems National Bilateral Organisation) and its territorial branch Onbsi Milano which operates in the sector of cleaning services and multi-services, entitled: 'The cleaning and facility services market: proposals for new local protocols and a more transparent sector'.
The meeting was the starting point for a dialogue between employers' associations, trades unions and local authorities regarding contract law, ethics and working conditions.
In the last decade the cleaning services and multi-services sector has seen a large rise in employment and in the number of companies. This is a sector which is highly characterised by a female and foreign workforce that gives it an important focus on social issues.
Unfortunately in the last few years and partly due to the economic crisis, a number of irregularities have emerged and some bids have been made which were incompatible with labour cost and/or a correct business dynamic.
For those reasons, the parties involved called this meeting in order to create a turning point in the sector’s situation.
One of the speakers, Onbsi vice president Gianfranco Piseri spoke about market statistics, operators, opportunities and the critical issues of the cleaning and facility services sector.
Then there was a presentation by Daniela Degiorgis, president of Onbsi Milano, called: 'The opinion of social partners and proposals for new local protocols for cleaning service contracts, to achieve legal compliance and transparency'.
Degiorgis stressed the symbiosis between ethics and law, “because legality, intended as observance of regulations and rules, cannot by itself lead the market and its regulation, especially in the context of a serious economic crisis, in the presence of a law that is not an exact science and in a strongly labour intensive sector.
“In fact," continued the Onbsi Milano president, "I believe the term legal compliance is not sufficient to represent the complexity of factors polluting this market, factors that don’t deplete with a simple violation of the regulation, (as in the case of workers without a legal employment contract or work contracts disguised as continuous collaborations).
"These factors include all the negative implications that are formed inside the recesses of a system at times confused, silent and contradictory which lead to 'makeshift' solutions, powered by the wind of economic urgency or carelessness but that often are arguable as far as the law is concerned or at least they are not supported by the sense of social responsibility and by the symbiosis between ethics and law."
Another concern is the economic aspect which often regulates market trends and always penalises the worker who may accept a salary significantly below the accepted standard because he/she is unemployed.
"With these examples," concluded Degiorgis, "I wanted to demonstrate that an interpretation of the law which only considers criteria of economic urgency, without taking into consideration the ethical and social implications, risks creating a market which is very far from a responsible, collective and open minded one."
The aim is to underwrite new protocols with the institutions present but above all to start a constructive dialogue which could be truly beneficial for the ethics of the market and improvement of conditions.