In the last few years Italy has regularly been crippled by nationwide strikes, especially in the transport sector. In 2008 travellers had to cope with no less than 500 local or national transport walkouts. The government there has finally decided to crack down on this. On 27 February 2009 it approved proposals making it harder for unions to call strikes and introducing tougher sanctions for those unions that fail to comply with the new strict rules governing strikes.
Under the new rules trade unions will only be able to call a strike if they represent the majority of employees working in the relevant sector. If this is not the case they will be required to consult the relevant employees first and then obtain the agreement of at least 30% of them before commencing strike action. This is designed to stop smaller trade unions calling a walk-out based on the approval of only a handful of employees.
Going forward individual employees will also be required to state whether they intend to participate in the strike before any strike action commences, in order to make things easier to manage for employers.
There will also be tougher sanctions for trade unions that flout the rules. The National Agency responsible for monitoring compliance with the relevant legislation in this area will be given greater powers to ensure that trade unions obtain the relevant worker mandate before calling anybody out on strike.