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School jobs threatened17th of May 2011
Thousands of cleaning sector jobs are at risk in Italy, reports Anna Garbagna for ECJ.
From this coming July over 26,000 jobs in Italy will be under threat in the cleaning sector, not to mention the possible consequences for the level of hygiene, routine maintenance and safety in schools. This was reported in February during a joint press conference by a number of industry association and trade union groups.
"We express our total disappointment towards the decision taken by MIUR (Ministry of Education, University and Research) to adopt, for the school year 2011/2012, in the contracts of outsourced activities of cleaning services, the procedure of 'piece work', whose management will be delegated to each school. We doubt the regularity and the transparency of such operations in a market sector which encompasses 4,000 school institutions and puts at risk the employment of the vast majority of the 26,000 cleaning operatives working in schools." This was the comment of the associations after the round table at MIUR, attended by many of its most senior representatives.
"Besides the issues of transparency in contract bids and quality of services, there is great concern about the proper application of the social clauses, because the transition phase involves the termination of employment contracts by June 30, interrupting work continuity and damaging workers’ rights." If this format is definitively going to be adopted, no worker would be guaranteed to be able to resume his/her job at the start of the new school term in September.
"With reference to the agreed commitments and proposals, and the minutes of the meeting which took place on March 3 2011, we notice with great disappointment that constructive dialogue has effectively been prevented by an attitude of pre-established narrow-mindedness on the part of the technical delegation of MIUR, which has not even allowed consideration of agreed procedures to safeguard the occupational prospects of the employees on one hand and to continue guaranteeing a high quality of services on the other."
Cuts in budget
Therefore the worry of what will happen after July 1 still remains, considering the strong cuts in resources for outsourced services being proposed and confirmed by the ministry, which put at risk the occupation and income of thousands of workers, as well as creating serious risks for quality of services and hence the health and safety of school premises used by both teachers and pupils.
"This is a complicated situation – they claim – to which is added the confusion that could be created by ministro Gelmini's directive, in which the criteria for future competitive tenders are defined. According to the measure, in a provisional phase to last at least one year, each local school establishment will be given the possibility to autonomously provide for the acquisition of such services; this will not guarantee actual quality standards and it contradicts national and community regulations."
The organisations of employers and unions concluded: "We appeal to the Government to search responsibly for effective solutions which will safeguard the employment and income of the workers involved as well as guaranteeing the quality of services in school environments. We will not hesitate to organise days of civil protest."