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Union Organisation of Employees in Atypical and Precarious Work in Italy


  • Salvo Leonardi


European trade unions are facing a very serious crisis of identity and strategy. Probably the worst for a long time. Practically all the principal organisations appear to be in serious difficulty in intercepting the new typologies of employment relationships; in interpreting their new identity profiles; the expectations for representation and voice that emerge at both an individual and collective level. In the post-Fordist economy there are more and more SMEs companies, in the service sector, with skilled white collar workers, many of which female, with atypical or subcontract employment relationships, new cultural attitudes and expectation in terms of representations and voice. From a trade union viewpoint, all these elements impose a radical turnaround of attitudes and approaches in order to maintain and possibly reach all those employees who still suffer inequalities, precariousness, exploitation. One of the most interesting and recent experiments is probably represented by the Italian trade union movement, concerning the specific organisation of the atypical workers into the frame of the three historical big confederations (Cgil, Cisl and Uil). A socially and juridical heterogeneous universe, composed by agency temporary workers and semi-dependent workers. Into the international scenario of union density decline the article describes this experience, within the peculiarities of the Italian model of trade unionism and industrial relations.

Suggested Citation

  • Salvo Leonardi, 2008. "Union Organisation of Employees in Atypical and Precarious Work in Italy," International Journal of Action Research, Rainer Hampp Verlag, vol. 4(3), pages 203-224.
  • Handle: RePEc:rai:ijares:doi_10.1688/1861-9916_ijar_2008_03_leonardi

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    trade unionism; atypical workers; precarious workers; Italian industrial relations;

    JEL classification:

    • J21 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Labor Force and Employment, Size, and Structure
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • J41 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets - - - Labor Contracts
    • J53 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor-Management Relations, Trade Unions, and Collective Bargaining - - - Labor-Management Relations; Industrial Jurisprudence
    • J71 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor Discrimination - - - Hiring and Firing


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