Employer Association Fragmentation and Decentralization of the Collective Bargaining Structure in Italy

Francesca Bergamante, Manuel Marocco



Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to provide an analysis of the collective bargaining trends in Italy, using data from the INAPP-RIL survey conducted on a sample of approximately 22.000 Italian firms.

Design/methodology/approach – In the first part, the analyses data from 2005 to 2015, focusing on multi-employer and single-employer bargaining, with particular regard to employer association membership. In the second part, single-employer bargaining in 2015 is investigated, examining data by firm size, economic sector and geographical area.

Findings – The share of firms with at least one employee applying a multi-employer collective agreement grew from 2010 to 2015, while in the same period employer association membership decreased. In those years, the share of firms applying firm-level agreements did not increase, and second-level bargaining mainly depended on business dimension and economic sector.

Research limitations/implications – This research proposes an empirical framework and calls for an in-depth analysis concerning the possible effects of employer association fragmentation on Italian collective bargaining.

Originality/value – Compared to other analyses, the empirical evidence collected provides additional information: multi-employer bargaining has continued to be applied outside of an association membership logic.

Paper type – Research paper

Keywords – Italy; Collective Bargaining; Employer’s Associations; Collective Agreement; Decentralization.