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4th IWIS Conference Paris
June 8-10, 1989
4th IWIS Conference Paris, June 8-10, 1989
1) POLITICAL AND ECONOMICAL SITUATION
In the last two years the Italian Government has been formed by
Christian Democrats, Socialists and Liberals.
The Prime Minister has been the Christian Democrat Ciriaco De
In this very last week a crisis occurred, but in the end a new
Government will be formed by the same coalition of political
parties, probably with a new Prime Minister.
In the last years the political atmosphere has been more and
more oriented towards transforming the public companies into
private ones and weakening the Welfare State approach.
One of the main reasons for this is that private companies have
been strongly reorganised in these years, with good results for
the companies themselves and for the stockholders, and some-
times for the workers too.
On the contrary, the Public Sector suffers of many malfunc-
tions, great delays and considerable inefficiency. The Private
is becoming the model to which the Public Sector refers: the
British model by Margaret Thachter is gaining popularity in
This is feared for part of the Sanity, of the Railroads and of
the major Banks, until now entirely public.
In 1988 the members of the unions were 9,165,000 :
4,743,000 (52%) in CGIL (Communist influence)
3,080,000 (33%) in CISL (Christian Democrat influence)
1,342,000 (13%) in UIL (Socialist influence)
The unemployed people, about 3 millions, represent 13% of the
working population (24 million people).
A significant part of the unemployment (50%) is represented by
young people looking for their first work activity.
The inflation rate is about 7%.
The purchasing power of wages and salaries has quite rapidly
increased in the Public Sector, and it has rather decreased in
the Private Sector, especially in the industrial one.
The next Metalmechanical workers contract, which is to be
renewed in 1990 and which also applies to all IBM workers, will
be particularly focused on higher wages for all workers, due
also to the fact that productivity in the industrial area has
enormously increased in the last five years.
The merit salary, so much characteristic of IBM, is spreading
rapidly through the other companies, both private and public.
In recent years important contracts have been signed at company
level (FIAT cars, OLIVETTI computers, ...) in which salary
increases are directly related to the economic results of the
company and to the productivity increases.
The component of wages, automatically connected to the cost of
living, is on the contrary loosing importance and weight.
2) IBM ITALY IN 1988
In 1988 the results achieved by IBM Italy were the following,
shown with the percentage increment on 1987 results :
REVENUE total 4530 million US $ (+21.9%)
from Italy 2690 " (+14.1%)
from export 1840 " (+35.5%)
PROFIT 400 " (+26.0%)
INVESTMENTS 350 " (-3.4%)
The mean inflation rate in Italy in 1988 was about 6.0%
At the end of the year 13809 people were working in IBM Italy,
of which 3503 in the production plants (2935 in Vimercate, near
Milan, and 568 in Santa Palomba, near Rome).
There were 205 employees working in the Software Laboratory in
Rome and 98 employees working in the Scientific Centres in Rome
During 1988 431 people resigned, and 792 people were employed.
The women represented 20.3% of the workers.
At the end of 1988 249 people were working with a part time con
tract (242 women and 7 men).
As far as personnel expenses were concerned, IBM Italy spent
the following sums during 1988 :
Wages and salaries 711 million US $ (+10.4%)
Integrative Pension Plan 10 "
Accident Insurance Plan 5 "
Medical Insurance Plan 4 "
Cafeteria 1.5 "
Special awards & Contests 2.5 "
As far as the plants were concerned, the production had an
increase of 27% on 1987, and the added value was about 45%.
The redeployment from plants has been practically absent during
The number of sales representatives had an increase of 22.7% on
the preceding year.
The dealers were 650 and the vendors 380.
There are now more than 10 joint ventures with about 400
workers involved, 100 of which IBMers.
There is a tendency to close little branch offices : this
creates several problems to the employees, but IBM is not
at all worried about it.
3) UNION ACTIVITY IN IBM ITALY
As inside of IBM Italy the trend towards a more rigorous
restriction of expenses goes on, the standards are decreasing
in almost every department.
The attention of the Company, and the distribution of the merit
salary, is more and more focused on managers and salesmen :
between the other workers the salary increases are less consis-
ent, more delayed and concerning fewer employees than before.
In this context IBM Italy unions decided to present a platform
of demands : we began discussing about it in June 1988; in
January 1989 we distributed questionnaires, which 33% of IBM
In March 1989, once defined the platform of demands, we asked
the approval of IBM workers with a referendum: 60% of the
workers participated to the referendum, and 83% of them answer-
ed positively and approved the platform.
Such platform of demands was presented to the Company on May
the 3rd, 1989, and then we had other two meetings with IBM.
The main demands are the following :
1) SALARY : a) institution of another monthly instalment in
addition to the 13 already paid by the Company
(1 per month, 2 in December).
This corresponds to an increase of salary of
b) an increase of 415 US $ per year of the annual
production bonus, which is the same for all
workers. Now its value is 1035 US $ per year.
The mean value of whole salary increase is about 9%
2) WORKING HOURS : a) the right for each individual worker to
take advantage of 4 weeks a year with 36
working hours, not working on Friday
b) the possibility of being in part time for
a fixed period (e.g. 3 years) and the
right for all workers, independently from
their level, to become part timers (with
a maximum of 5% of the entire population)
c) the possibility of temporary retirements,
for a maximum period of 3 years, not
3) TRANSFERS : a) introduction of an allowance of 14 US $ per
night in addition to the refund of all ex-
penses, as an acknowledgement of the uneasi-
ness of staying far from home
b) creation of a mixed committee IBM - Unions to
study and make proposals, within 3 months, on
subjects like transfers and working hours,
with particular attention to the problems of
Customer Engineer and Exempt employees
4) EQUAL OPPORTUNITIES : creation of a mixed committee IBM -
Unions to develop analyses and make
proposals on Positive Actions
5) INFORMATION : a) about significant changes and reorganiza-
tion before they take place
b) about education, with data referred to geo-
graphic and professional areas, to plants,
to field and to headquarters, and articu-
lated per sex and age
After the Paris meeting a period of struggles will begin, and
we hope to sign an agreement before summer holidays.
In the meantime two legal actions have been started by the
Unions in Rome against IBM, charging the Company with anti-
union behaviour, and trying both to drive back the assaults of
IBM towards the unionists and to make public and officially
known to all IBM workers the IBM level, career and salary
As far as the health of the unions inside of IBM Italy is con-
cerned, the situation is not particularly brilliant.
The union members are about 1200 (9.6% of the workers) and the
union executives not more than 65 .
Though more and more IBMers trust the unionists and approve
their strategy, decisions and behaviour, on the other hand they
are not much interested in active participation and involve-
ment. It is becoming more and more difficult to have new union
executives and to be present in locations (particularly in the
branch offices) where we are missing.