The European Commission has requested Italy to fully apply the Council Directive on fixed-term work (1999/70/EC) that requires Member States to put into effect a framework agreement, reached by EU-level organisations representing trade unions and employers, setting out the general principles and minimum requirements relating to workers on fixed-term contracts.
The Directive contains an absolute requirement to take fixed-term workers into consideration when calculating the threshold above which workers' representative bodies have to be established under national law.
The relevant Italian rules are contrary to the Directive's requirements because they only take fixed-term employment of more than nine months into account for the purpose of this calculation. This means that employees on fixed-term contracts with a duration of less than nine months are not taken into account when assessing whether a company is large enough to be required to set-up workers' representative bodies.
The request takes the form of a 'reasoned opinion' under EU infringement procedures. Italy now has two months to notify the Commission of the measures taken to fully implement the Directive. Otherwise, the Commission may decide to refer Italy to the European Court of Justice.