Commentary. As regards measures to support the employment of young people, women and certain categories of disadvantaged workers, the government is focusing on a new watchword: “self-employment.”

Once a year, Meloni remembers workers exist

Just like last year, the Meloni government only remembers workers exist on the eve of May Day (this year, in particular, with a view to the European elections). Right on cue, a government meeting was called at Palazzo Chigi with an agenda that could not have been more generic: “Measures on work.” The instrument chosen was yet another decree-law, this time with the added reassuring moniker “for cohesion.”

As usual, Giorgia Meloni limited herself to informing the major unions CGIL, CISL and UIL (plus, unavoidably, UGL and CONFSAL, the unions that act as rubber stamps) at the end of the day, without any discussion whatsoever. The initial figures rattled off by the Prime Minister sounded impressive enough: “The reform aims to accelerate the implementation of cohesion policies that provide 75 billion Euros for our country, of which 43 billion are European resources,” Meloni said.

On the other hand, reality is far less generous: the number-crunchers at the Economy Ministry were working into the late evening, desperately looking for a few tens of millions of Euros to keep the government’s promise of the extra 100 Euros added to the year-end bonus, something very few will actually get, given the very narrow conditions to access it, recalling the measures passed for those “exited” by the Fornero pension reform.

“[April 30] we will bring before the Council of Ministers, as part of the implementation of the fiscal delegation, a legislative decree that will allow us to disburse, in January 2025, an allowance of €100 to employees with a total income not exceeding €28,000 with a spouse and at least one dependent child, or for single-parent families with a single dependent child,” Meloni said, with no sign of embarrassment at the tiny scope of the measure. “This provision is part of the broader work that the government has carried out so far to protect the purchasing power of families and workers, especially those who are most exposed. In these 16 months of government, we have chosen to concentrate the resources we had available on redistributive interventions,” Meloni concluded, completely unconcerned about making a fool of herself.

The truth that Meloni conveniently sidestepped is that these are measures that were already in the pipeline (and greatly delayed), financed by European funds, while there is still no source of funding for the “year-end bonus” of €100 promised last Christmas.

As regards measures to support the employment of young people, women and certain categories of disadvantaged workers, the government is focusing on a new watchword: “self-employment.” Apart from the reduction of social security contributions for new hires for two years, the decree will include two provisions: “Self-employment in central-northern Italy” and “Investing in the South 2.0”. Both measures are intended for: young people under 35; people who have been unemployed for at least 12 months; and people in conditions of social marginalization and discrimination, with a focus on the Single Special Economic Zone for the South, which has not yet been agreed upon after the dialogue with local authorities that was held on Monday.

Earlier, also at Palazzo Chigi, the Prime Minister and a government delegation met with CGIL, CISL and UIL and the European and International Confederation of Trade Unions for consultations in view of the G7 summit, scheduled in Puglia from 13 to 15 June. Labour7, the format that brings together trade unions from the G7 and EU nations, takes part in the work of the summit by making recommendations to the leaders and presenting the priorities for the agenda: “the growth of green and high-quality jobs, workplace safety and wages.” Those present at the meeting included the general secretaries of CISL and UIL, Luigi Sbarra and Pierpaolo Bombardieri, while the CGIL was represented by the confederal secretaries; Maurizio Landini did not take part, as he was in Palermo for an anti-Mafia congress.

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