Some 45,000 workers in the insurance sector in Italy are to benefit from new protections and rights regarding remote work, following successful negotiations by UNI Global Union affiliates FIRST-CISL, FISAC-CGIL, FNA, SNFIA and UILCA with the Italian insurance employers’ association.
A new protocol signed on 24 February 2021 sets out guidelines on work/life balance, the right to disconnect, compensation for costs related to remote work (including IT equipment and other financial or welfare support), health and safety guarantees, meal vouchers, the right to training, and access to online communication networks.
These joint guidelines – which will become part of the sector’s next national collective agreement – will support trade unions and companies in the sector to negotiate post-Covid rules and regulations on remote work.
Under the agreement, remote work must remain a voluntary arrangement, chosen by the worker, not imposed by the employer. Around 98 per cent of Italy’s insurance workers have been working remotely during the Covid-19 pandemic.
All collectively bargained trade union rights and freedoms are guaranteed for all workers – whether they choose to work remotely or not. Workers’ Health & Safety Representatives will also be extensively involved, both in terms of information on general and specific risks related to remote working and in terms of joint monitoring.
Finally, the protocol also foresees the setting up of a trade union/employer National Bilateral Observatory to monitor the progress and developments of the guidelines and their implementation, also in relation to technological and digital innovation.
Italy’s insurance sector trade unions campaigned strongly for these guidelines, so their members are not left unprotected by the ongoing changes to working arrangements in the sector.
Angelo Di Cristo, UNI Finance Head of Department, said:
“This landmark protocol shows how strong unions are able to negotiate strong collective agreements to better protect workers, whatever the circumstances. We are sure that this agreement will now serve as good practice for unions in many other countries. My congratulations to UNI’s Italian insurance affiliates on this success.”
The agreement comes as UNI this week released key trade union principles for ensuring workers’ rights when working remotely.