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The European Commission has referred Italy to the Court of Justice of the EU for not taking measures to properly implement EU law on collective redundancies.
Directive 98/59/EC requires any employer contemplating collective redundancies to hold consultations with workers' representatives with a view to reaching an agreement. These consultations have to include ways and means of avoiding collective redundancies or reducing the number of workers affected, and of mitigating the consequences by recourse to accompanying social measures aimed at redeploying or retraining those workers made redundant.
Italian legislation, and the relevant Italian case law, currently excludes managers ('dirigenti') from the procedural guarantees related to information and consultation of workers' representatives at the workplace.
The exclusion of 'dirigenti' constitutes not only unjustified discrimination against 'dirigenti' themselves 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.