Labour Day celebration for workers

Italy’s President highlights job insecurity ahead of May Day workers’ holiday


President Sergio Mattarella today highlighted the need to address widespread job insecurity on the Italian labour market ahead of the May Day national holiday dedicated to workers.

A high number of Italian workers are employed on a temporary basis or under contracts that give them little job security.

“Precariousness as a system clashes with the goals of growth and development,” Mattarella said during a visit to Reggio Emilia.

He linked this problem to the fact that the proportion of people who are active on the labour market in Italy is lower than the European average. He said labour was “the engine of growth and social cohesion of the (Italian) Republic”.

Mattarella also referred to the problem of in-work poverty. “Work is a sign of dignity because it is closely linked to each person’s life project,” he said. He added that we should not give in to the temptation to accept “the idea that there can be poor jobs, with remuneration that does not allow one to lead a decent existence”.

The president also drew attention to the problem of deaths in the workplace, saying these “destroy lives, plunge families into despair, and cause irreversible damage, with unacceptable human costs”. Last year, Mattarella said the aim was for zero work-related deaths. However, the results were wide of the mark.

Less than a third of women employed in southern Italy

Only 28.9% of women living in southern Italy, fewer than one in three, are in employment. This is compared to 52% in the north of the country, retailers association Confcommercio said in a report published Saturday.

It said the employment rate for women for the whole of Italy was 43.6%, while the EU average is 54.1%.

The report also highlighted the employment rate for men is lower than the EU average too. However, the difference is considerably less, with 60.3% of males in Italy in work, while the rate for the whole bloc is 64.7%.

“If Italy’s unemployment rate for women, which is 11.1%, were brought down to the European level of 7.2%, there would be 433,000 more women in work,” Confcommercio said.

Work-related accidents

Italy registered a big drop in the number of work-related accidents in the first quarter of 2023. However, fatal cases were on the rise, Inail said on Friday.

The national workplace accident and illness insurance agency (Inail) said there were 196 work-related deaths between January and March, a rise of 3.7% with respect to the same period in 2022.

It also reported there were 144,586 work-related accidents, a drop of 25.5% with respect to the first quarter of 2022. Work-related illnesses, meanwhile, saw an increase of 25.1% to 18,164 cases.

Traditionally, Labour Day is celebrated with a concert in Rome.

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