After the applause (a little too much) subsided, the navigation of the Draghi government takes place in deep waters. How deep is not known. It depends on the evolution of the pandemic which escapes any forecast model. The Prime Minister will have to face visible rocks and sudden dry. Some of these obstacles have been wisely circumvented in the keynote speech and in the replies, for example the prescription. The icebergs along the route – immigration above all – are easily identifiable. But it is one thing to talk coldly about the need for a European mechanism for the compulsory pro quota redistribution of migrants, it is another to find a ship of suffering humanity off the Italian coast and having to choose in a few hours.
In any case, the extent of the problem and its political slippery are known. We get ready. Less easy to deal with – and it may seem paradoxical – other issues concerning the painful economic situation, the future of companies in crisis, the fate of employment, on which theoretically we should be better prepared, given the technical caliber of the executive. The government will have to protect all workers, Draghi promised. A phrase that met with widespread approval. Quite right. But it would be a mistake – he added – to protect all economic activities indifferently, some will have to change, even radically. A passage that slipped away as if you didn’t want to look reality in the face. The bitter chalice to drink, or gobble depending on the situation, for there in front of us. And who knows why we are all somewhat tempted to remove it, even though we are talking about the dramatic deadline (March 31) of the redundancy block, cultivating the illusion that we can still get by with various types.
Unique in Europe
Draghi should perhaps have added – but it was politically inappropriate in the Senate when he called for trust – that it is a duty to protect all workers, but not all jobs can be safeguarded. The reaction would have been different. There is no doubt. The unions insist on the extension of the redundancy freeze, and understandable. Entrepreneurs note that there is no similar measure in the European Union and they are not wrong. The compromise will probably be that of a selective extension for those sectors which, objectively, have been most unjustly affected by the pandemic, such as tourism, culture, transport, services, retail trade, textiles and clothing, general machinery. But if that were the only solution, albeit temporary, we would only have gained time.
Managing one emergency at a time could be fatal also because it would make corporate crises even more intricate and the reaction of the territories unpredictable. Discussing layoffs, mobility, solidarity contracts, within a framework of adequate tools, income guarantees and mobility orientation, alleviates the worries of employees and families. Otherwise there is the loneliness of precariousness, the sense of bewilderment, the disappointment of unfulfilled promises. The risk of social tensions is even higher. The non-computable ripple effect. The Minister of Labor, Andrea Orlando, is committed to promoting the reform of social safety nets and active labor policies for which 500 million have been allocated in the 2021 Budget Law. In particular, there is the extension of the Redundancy Fund and Naspi ( New monthly unemployment benefit) to sectors that do not. The relocation allowance can also be accessed by the recipients of Cassa, in various forms, and of Naspi. Draghi also spoke of the necessary requalification of the Employment Centers and their digitization in coordination with the Regions. A very insidious obstacle on the bureaucratic level, also taking into account the different regional levels of efficiency.
The premier insisted on the need to act quickly and to have a framework of effective interventions to protect the individual worker before he has to shoulder the discomfort of unavoidable mobility and a necessary retraining program. A true reform of active policies essential to obtain and better use the funds of the Next generation Eu, which has social inclusion among its main objectives. At the end of April, simultaneously with the deadline for submitting the National Plan for Recovery and Resilience (Pnrr), the contracts of the so-called navigators run out. Their renewal, or their different use, will also be significant in testing the new climate. Seven million workers have had access, with known difficulties, to wage integration tools for a total of 4 billion hours. Italy’s accession to the Sure (State supported short time work) has made less dramatic the impact of the crisis on the labor market which, according to the latest INPS data (November 2020), has recorded the loss of 664,000 423 jobs , of which 445 thousand 471 at term, mostly women and young people. The precarious workers have overpaid for the consequences of the redundancy block.
One hundred company dossiers
Those who have more guarantees have been more protected. The weight of corporate tensions was placed on weak contracts. On the table of the Ministry of Economic Development there are about one hundred company files. Minister Giancarlo Giorgetti made his debut last Thursday with a trade union meeting for the long-standing Whirlpool dispute and, the following day, with ArcelorMittal. If we continue to put public money in Alitalia, how will we be able to keep faith with that passage of the speech to the Senate in which indiscriminate support for every activity is declared a mistake in spite of budget trends? And how can we explain to the employees of the American multinational, who are fired on March 31, and of other companies in similar conditions, who are less citizens than the employees of the national airline? And again: how will Patrimonio Relaunch, a separate arm of Cassa Depositi e Prestiti, strong of around 40 billion (of public debt), act, and with what constraints, in selecting the companies to help? The choice of which activities to protect and which to accompany in the change – Draghi clarified – is the difficult task that economic policy will have to face in the coming months.
Now we need realism
Federico Fubini noted on the Courier service that the combination of business subsidies, bank guarantees, loan moratoriums and suspended tax deadlines covers more than 6 percent of gross domestic product. More than in other countries. Perhaps in the light of these data, the entrepreneurs themselves are called upon not to let themselves be guided too much by the logic of the sector or, worse, corporate. The free redundancy fund, for example, helps to keep companies without a future alive. And the same happens for subsidies and guarantees given in the emergency without distinction. Saving businesses and jobs that have a future requires a strong dose of realism. And new tools to intervene, with capital and management, in cases where liquidity crises can be overcome. Without looking away, as often happens, from too many earnings from unscrupulous liquidations and without respect for those who work.
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