“Italy is a Republic founded on work”. This is the first sentence of the Italian Constitution. We are talking about work rather than workers; we are talking about a principle rather than people. Why?

Well, the answer is simple: the Republic is founded on a collaboration principle among different people who work and participate to the on-going life of the Republic; thus, every Italian citizen carries the burden to work in order to contribute to the “material and spiritual progress of society” (art. 4, Constitution).

During the discussion into the constitutional assembly, the left-wing forces (communist and socialist parties) proposed to dedicate the first article of the Constitution to workers turning the sentence into “Italy is a Republic founded on workers”. The proposal was strongly rejected by the catholic and right-wing forces, the danger was clear to all: this wording would transform the Republic into a single-class State (C. Mortati, Commentary on the Constitution, Zanichelli, 1975).

Then, why the working principle has been chosen as the cornerstone of the Italian fundamental law? Because working assumes freedom.

A worker who earns a salary depending on his preparation, time and skills is absolutely protected to slavery, he/she/* does not depend on other people who can control him/her/*; this means that free workers are free citizens.

The Italian Republic has built its legal framework on this principle, meaning that everything depends on the level of occupation of the Italian citizens: albeit it is absolutely true that there are not instruments to completely curb and deter unemployment (that is impossible to eliminate), nevertheless the Republic should (not must) use every instrument in order to reduce the number of unemployed.

Is it currently working? No. Let’s make an example.

Currently, the new Italian Government led by Mario Draghi is internally fighting on the stop (or freeze) of redundancies, a legal measure adopted during February 2020, the first and tragic part of the pandemic and still on-going. Carlo Bonomi, President of Confindustria (the main representative organization of Italian companies) asks the Government to end the stop of redundancies; Maurizio Landini, Secretary of the CGIL (the main trade union of workers in Italy) said “We call for an extension of the redundancy freeze but not forever, just to achieve a good reform by August”.

Both the positions are represented in the Italian Government by a back-and-forth of statements, interviews and hits of the main leaders (Salvini, Lega, right-wing and Letta, Partito Democratico, left-wing).

Even Ignazio Visco seems to be confused: delivering his annual speech as the Governor of the Bank of Italy, Visco warned that government subsidies would cease and we would have to get used to them. Furthermore, he called for continued support for those who lost their jobs. Politicians and social partners went round and round, each reading their own version of the Governor’s speech, super partes by definition.

It is quite strange to read these speeches, hits and statements plenty of confusion and political instability since the answer is clear to all: Italy is a Republic founded on work, not on Confindustria.

In conclusion, on June 2nd Italian citizens celebrated 75 years since birth of the Italian Republic and they still look at their representatives finding them confused, sulking, pointing the finger against each other. I would say something different to the people, my fellow citizens, who are going to lose their jobs, homes and hopes but the only thing I can say, right now is: happy republic day, Italians, this day is for you.

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