The European Commission has requested Italy to end the exclusion of managers ('dirigenti') from the procedural guarantees for information, consultation of workers at the workplace laid down by EU law.
The Collective Redundancies Directive harmonises rules on the procedure and practical arrangements for on collective redundancies at EU level so as to ensure comparable protection of workers' rights in all Member States.
Italian legislation, as applied by the courts, currently excludes 'dirigenti' from the scope of the mobility procedure depriving this category of workers of the protection arising from this procedure.
The exclusion of 'dirigenti' constitutes not only unjustified discrimination against 'dirigenti' but may also, in certain cases, lead to an unjustified weakening of the protection of other categories of workers at the workplace. In particular, it may make it more difficult to reach the redundancies threshold required by law for triggering the information and consultation procedure.
To ensure proper implementation of the Directive the definition of 'workers' cannot be left to the discretion of Member States. On the contrary, 'workers' must be defined a uniform manner across the EU, in line with the objectives of the Directive, the principle of equality and the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights.
The Commission's request takes the form of a 'reasoned opinion' under EU infringement procedures. Italy now has two months to inform the Commission of measures taken to bring its legislation into line with EU law. Otherwise the Commission may decide to refer Italy to the EU's Court of Justice.