Social partners’ initiatives for social cohesion and sustainable growth. A study in two territories of Southern Italy

Wednesday, July 12, 2017
JWS - Room J10 (J355) (University of Glasgow)
Vincenzo Fortunato , University of Calabria
Marcello Pedaci , University of Teramo
The paper draws from the debate on the ongoing changes in the mechanisms of regulation in many areas of policy. In a context of declining public expenditure, also for budget constraints, and growing demand of protections, many studies have highlighted the important role the organizations of civil society, including actors of industrial relations, are playing. Through different instruments social partners integrate (or fill the gaps of) State action.

The paper focuses on this argument. It analyses unions and employers’ initiatives concerning welfare provisions, social cohesion, services for citizenship. Considering the growing role of territories in dealing with these issues, the study considers initiatives at regional level; specifically in two territories of the Southern Italy (Abruzzo and Calabria) characterised by "economies in trouble", more welfare deficits, wider situations of social vulnerability.

This paper is based on case studies carried out under the framework of a pluri-annual national research program. We adopted different methods and techniques of analysis, including interviews with qualified actors, unions’ members, employers representatives, and officers of bilateral bodies; analysis of collective agreements, official documents and report; analysis of quantitative data of different sources.

The findings show a variety of social partners’ initiatives (unilateral, bilateral, in coalition with other organisations). They often follows a pragmatic approach, they try to solve problems, or even "emergencies" in the territories. Many are effective, other no. The paper discusses these initiatives, their outcome, the principal factors (internal and external to the social partners) that influenced their results, highlighting differences and similarities.