The violent quakes that hit Italy – particularly the Emilia Romagna region – in May and June 2012 shed light on an innovative aspect in the management and preparation of natural disasters. What was striking about this tragedy was that most of the fatalities were workers who survived the earthquake, but soon afterwards were being recalled to duty to resume their working activity and commence post-disaster reconstruction. More than likely, a more effective dialogue between employers and trade unions would have avoided these fatalities. This proposition draws on past experience, more notably the earthquake which took place in the Umbria region between 1997 and 1998, and highlights the major role played by the industrial relations system in preparing for and dealing with natural and environmental disasters. On that occasion, the Single Insurance Contribution Payment Certificate (“Documento unico di regolarità contributiva” – DURC) was issued to ensure that only employers who comply with anti-seismic regulations were involved in rebuilding. DURC was intended as a tool to single out compliant employers to be engaged in the reconstruction work and safeguard, albeit indirectly, workers and individuals operating in the areas hit by the disaster. Originally an industrial relations practice, DURC was implemented through national legislation and emerged as a major tool against irregular work, especially in those sectors where contracting and subcontracting were widespread phenomena. Drawing on DURC, Italian legislation made provision to include within the Consolidated Act on Occupational Health and Safety of 2008 (“Testo Unico della salute e sicurezza sul lavoro”) a state-of-the-art procedure to single out the market operators and, albeit indirectly, safeguard workers and people. In effect, this selection procedure is based on a system of qualification according to which only qualified employers with technical and professional expertise specified in the collective agreement are allowed to operate in certain industries. To this end, suitable employers need to meet some criteria concerning contractual requirements – especially in contracting out tasks and activities – related for instance to aspects of health and safety at work. The qualification system addressed the most dangerous sectors and activities and at the moment applies to confined spaces, although it can be considered in the event of other types of natural disasters (mine collapses, marine oil spills, industrial pollution and land contamination). On the basis of these considerations, this paper investigates social dialogue and the industrial relations system, considering their role in the event of natural disasters (earthquakes and floods), also making reference to similar – albeit different – phenomena falling within the rubric of “environmental disasters”. After providing a cursory overview of the problem at a European and international level, the focus will move on to the Italian case. In this sense, an attempt will be made to shed light on attitudes and codes of conduct implemented in emergency situations which have now become common practice in industrial relations, thus providing an innovative contribution to social dialogue at company and sectorial level.

Overcoming Natural and Environmental Disasters: the Role of Industrial Relations and Some Reflections on the Italian Case / Tiraboschi, Michele. - In: E-JOURNAL OF INTERNATIONAL AND COMPARATIVE LABOUR STUDIES. - ISSN 2280-4056. - ELETTRONICO. - 3 (3):(2014), pp. 3-27.

Overcoming Natural and Environmental Disasters: the Role of Industrial Relations and Some Reflections on the Italian Case

TIRABOSCHI, Michele
2014

Abstract

The violent quakes that hit Italy – particularly the Emilia Romagna region – in May and June 2012 shed light on an innovative aspect in the management and preparation of natural disasters. What was striking about this tragedy was that most of the fatalities were workers who survived the earthquake, but soon afterwards were being recalled to duty to resume their working activity and commence post-disaster reconstruction. More than likely, a more effective dialogue between employers and trade unions would have avoided these fatalities. This proposition draws on past experience, more notably the earthquake which took place in the Umbria region between 1997 and 1998, and highlights the major role played by the industrial relations system in preparing for and dealing with natural and environmental disasters. On that occasion, the Single Insurance Contribution Payment Certificate (“Documento unico di regolarità contributiva” – DURC) was issued to ensure that only employers who comply with anti-seismic regulations were involved in rebuilding. DURC was intended as a tool to single out compliant employers to be engaged in the reconstruction work and safeguard, albeit indirectly, workers and individuals operating in the areas hit by the disaster. Originally an industrial relations practice, DURC was implemented through national legislation and emerged as a major tool against irregular work, especially in those sectors where contracting and subcontracting were widespread phenomena. Drawing on DURC, Italian legislation made provision to include within the Consolidated Act on Occupational Health and Safety of 2008 (“Testo Unico della salute e sicurezza sul lavoro”) a state-of-the-art procedure to single out the market operators and, albeit indirectly, safeguard workers and people. In effect, this selection procedure is based on a system of qualification according to which only qualified employers with technical and professional expertise specified in the collective agreement are allowed to operate in certain industries. To this end, suitable employers need to meet some criteria concerning contractual requirements – especially in contracting out tasks and activities – related for instance to aspects of health and safety at work. The qualification system addressed the most dangerous sectors and activities and at the moment applies to confined spaces, although it can be considered in the event of other types of natural disasters (mine collapses, marine oil spills, industrial pollution and land contamination). On the basis of these considerations, this paper investigates social dialogue and the industrial relations system, considering their role in the event of natural disasters (earthquakes and floods), also making reference to similar – albeit different – phenomena falling within the rubric of “environmental disasters”. After providing a cursory overview of the problem at a European and international level, the focus will move on to the Italian case. In this sense, an attempt will be made to shed light on attitudes and codes of conduct implemented in emergency situations which have now become common practice in industrial relations, thus providing an innovative contribution to social dialogue at company and sectorial level.
3 (3)
3
27
Overcoming Natural and Environmental Disasters: the Role of Industrial Relations and Some Reflections on the Italian Case / Tiraboschi, Michele. - In: E-JOURNAL OF INTERNATIONAL AND COMPARATIVE LABOUR STUDIES. - ISSN 2280-4056. - ELETTRONICO. - 3 (3):(2014), pp. 3-27.
Tiraboschi, Michele
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11380/1051114
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