Commission of inquiry into working conditions established in Italy

Prepared by Francesca Tironi e Alessandro Ferrari

By means of a resolution of the Senate of the Republic dated March 22, 2023 (published in the Official Gazette on 3/28/23), a Parliamentary Commission of Inquiry into working conditions in Italy, exploitation and safety in the workplace was established for the duration of the 19th Legislature, pursuant to Article 82 of the Constitution and Article 162 of the Senate Rules of Procedure. 

The Commission, which will submit an annual report to the Senate on the activities carried out and the results of the investigation, will be primarily responsible for ascertaining: (a) the extent of labor exploitation, with particular regard to the instruments of prevention and repression; (b) the extent of the phenomenon of accidents at work, with particular regard to the number of fatal accidents, illnesses and disabilities, as well as the assistance provided to the families of the victims, verifying the existence of any differences between the sexes and also identifying the areas and work sectors in which the phenomenon is most widespread; (c) the extent of the presence of minors, with particular regard to minors from abroad and their protection and exposure to risk; d) the incidence of the phenomenon of the presence of enterprises controlled directly or indirectly by organized crime, as well as’ compliance with regulations in the case of contracts and subcontracts with specific regard to consortia, the phenomenon of cooperatives of convenience, business networks and complex production sites, with particular emphasis on sensitive sectors, such as construction and logistics; e) the use of new technologies for the purpose of preventing accidents at work, with particular regard to those that recur frequently and in similar ways; f) the impact of digitalization and new technologies on occupational health and safety, with particular reference to the need for adaptation of skills resulting from technological and organizational change; (g) the adequacy of the benefits provided by current legislation for workers or their family members in the event of an accident at work; (h) the adequacy of controls by supervisory bodies on the application of accident prevention regulations; (i) the extent and seriousness of occupational accidents and occupational diseases, with particular reference to the protection of victims and their families; (l) the causes of occupational accidents, with particular regard to their magnitude in the context of undeclared or undeclared work and double work; (m) the overall impact of the cost of occupational accidents on the family size of workers, on the productivity of enterprises, on the National Health Service, and on the economic system; (n) any new legislative and administrative instruments to be proposed for the purpose of preventing and repressing occupational accidents and diseases; (o) the incidence and prevalence of the phenomenon of occupational accidents and diseases by age and place of residence of the victims, through the conduct of appropriate analyses; (p) the incidence of lifelong learning, the performance of school and university education on occupational safety issues, the Italian training differential with other countries.

Notwithstanding the above, for what is relevant here, it is interesting to note that the Commission – within the scope of the entrusted activities -, will be able to acquire, even in derogation of the prohibition established by Art. 329 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, copies of acts and documents relating to proceedings and investigations in progress at the judicial authority or other investigative bodies, as well as’ copies of acts and documents relating to parliamentary investigations and inquiries; and, finally, from the bodies and offices of the public administration, copies of acts and documents held, produced or otherwise acquired by them in matters pertaining to the purposes of this inquiry.

It is, in essence, yet another measure launched by the Government with the specific purpose of monitoring (even more) the labor market, in all its facets: this approach, which was already pursued last year (in the last legislature, a Commission of Inquiry was established concerning a similar matter, which concluded its work with the approval of a final report in which, in order to improve the existing legislative framework, certain regulatory hypotheses for intervention were identified aimed at combating the use of forms of labor exploitation, at introducing a specific liability of the entity in the case of exploitation of workers, at the tightening of sanctions for cases of exploitation of workers etc. ), again denotes the increasing attention to issues related to working conditions in our country, implying this circumstance the need for those in the field to pay greater attention with respect to the same.

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Francesca Tironi

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