Gisella De Simone

Room and role for vote, between elections and plebiscites. Lessons from the Fiat case

  • Abstract

Informations and abstract

Keywords: collective agreements, referendum, models of industrial relations.

The Author analyses the experience of referendum within enterprises, in the frame of the two levels (industry-wide/company-wide) collective bargaining. The focus is put on "what", "how" and "why" Trade Unions choose to let workers decide through referendum. Moving from the peculiar case of recent referendums in some plants of the Fiat Group in Italy (Pomigliano and Mirafiori), the essay tries to assess the content of this kind of referendum, as an instrument of direct democracy on one side, and a measure of the real workers' consent as well of the real Trade Unions' capability of representation of workers' interests on the other side. Finally, the Author discloses and criticizes some alarming effects of these recent referendums, as regards the bypassing of the traditional model of industrial relations on one hand and, on the other hand, the lack of representation at company level for those Trade Unions (even the most representative, comparatively) who don't accept the lower working conditions imposed by the results of the referendum, refusing to sign the agreement bargained, on such a ground, by the employer with the others Trade Unions.

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