Capital: Rome
Population: 60.79m. (2014 est.)

Italy ratified ILO Conventions No.87 (Freedom of Association and Protection of the Right to Organise, 1948) and No. 98 (Right to Organise and Collective Bargaining, 1949) in 1958.

Italy reports Europe's largest labour movement by some margin, however the figures reported may be inflated, and in any case include very significant numbers of pensioners. There has traditionally been a virtually unrestricted right to strike, and this has been freely exercised, with industrial disputes also pursued in the courts. During the 1990s, however, the level of collective industrial disputes fell sharply, but in recent years industrial disputes have been on the rise. Political tensions have increased with economic difficulties and the rise of right-wing nationalist politics and anti-immigrant violence.

A number of political murders against trade unionists and labour law academics place Italy in a very different context to much of Europe. In 1985 Prof. Enzo Tarantelli, then director of the CISL Research Institute, in 1999 Massimo D’Antona, the head of the juridical council of CGIL and an adviser to the Minister of Labour, and in 2002 law professor Marco Biagi were murdered by Red Brigade terrorists and associated groups. In 2016 Abd Elsalam Ahmed Eldanf, an active member of the USB union, was violently killed on a picket line when a lorry drove through the picket line and struck him. In 2018 Soumayla Sacko, an organiser of migrant workers and an active member of the USB, was shot dead.

Italy has three large confederations: the left / social democratic (formerly communist) Confederazione Generale Italiana del Lavoro (CGIL, English: Italian General Confederation of Labour), the christian democrat Confederazione Italiana Sindacati Lavoratori (CISL, English: Italian Confederation of Workers’ Trade Unions) and the Unione Italiana del Lavoro (UIL, English: Italian Labour Union), the smallest of the three, led by social democrats and republicans. Since the sharp divisions of the mid-20th Century the main centres are now politically closer, and all three are affiliated to the ITUC. Outside the main centres are numerous independent unions. Many of these reflect the interests of narrow occupational or professional groups who have felt neglected by the main confederations, but more politically radical union centres are also active, including affiliates of the WFTU.

Full details of the country's political history, the development of trade unionism, and contact and affiliation details for all national trade union centres can be found in ICTUR's in-depth global reference book: Trade Unions of the World.

Link to reportFull country profile: Italy, from Trade Unions of the World (2016)

Link to letterIntervention letter: murder of union activist

Link to letterIntervention letter: legal harassment of union (2017)

Link to letter Intervention letter: violent killing of strike on picket line (2016)

Link to reportIUR article: 'FIM-CISL vs. Industry 4.0', Alioti (2018)


Link to reportIUR article: 'Young workers and trade union rights in Italy', Tomba (2013)


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