Federico Vione, former number one in Italy of Adecco and CEO and founder of W Group, the first Italian multi-brand and multi-service group of human resources, with a turnover of 536 million, argues that the ongoing debate on the minimum wage is important for restoring the dignity of work in some industrial areas of the country. But the government should also take up the cry coming from the average entrepreneurship of Northern Italy which is asking for different rules to allow more money to be put into the pockets of workers.
Minimum wage, comparison with contracts and salaries. Here's which categories would benefit from it
by Raffaele Ricciardi
Doctor Vione, do you agree to introduce a minimum wage by law of 9 euros gross per hour?
"The debate on the minimum wage is important for the dignity of work. Some national contracts are under 9 euros, but in Northern Italy they are only 10% of the total, all things considered, they will certainly be more. In the central and southern Italy they will certainly be more. Sector bargaining should guarantee moving towards a minimum wage of no less than 9 euros".
How is the demand for work in the North in this period?
"We work with many medium-sized Italian companies and I can say that I am registering a great deal of pressure from workers who are trying to increase their income to cope with the growth of inflation. For a long time Italy has been stuck on increasing wages but today things are changing. The demand for labor exceeds the supply and this fact assigns greater bargaining power in the hands of the workers".
And how are entrepreneurs responding to this increased demand for wages?
"In the past they would have ignored it, but today, faced with the low supply of workers, we are led to seriously consider requests for wage increases, looking for innovative formulas and flexible packages".
What is causing the lower labor supply?
"The economic recovery after the pandemic in all sectors at the same time, the mass resignations whose peak was reached in 2022 but which continues in 2023, the result of a greater awareness of having new opportunities even if you leave your job. And I believe this lower supply of jobs will persist, for example the kids from the South no longer come to the North to look for work because they are finding it in the South".
So what can entrepreneurs who need workers who are increasingly difficult to find do?
"The increases in national contracts have a flaw, they cost companies a lot and there is little left in the pockets of workers. Just look at the recent increase of more than 6% in the metalworkers' contract, the extra 110 euros gross have become 150 as a cost for companies but they have become 80 euros net per month in payroll. We need to look for new ways".
Do you have any suggestions on this?
"We need to go in the direction of decontribution of salary increases or bonuses so that we tend to reduce the tax wedge. For example, on 1500 euros of salary, the same contributions and the same taxes continue to be paid, but the increases should be without contributions and without taxes. So the increase really ends up in the hands of the workers".
Is it your idea or the entrepreneurs' idea?
"We hear many of them every day and I can assure you that this is a cry that comes from the average entrepreneurship of the North, they need manpower and want to pay it more but something must be done to reduce the tax wedge to unchanged revenue for the State. The latest labor decree goes in the right direction".