August 16, 2007

I share my impressions about labour scenario here :

1. Italy, as such is not as industralised nation like other European countries, UK, France, Germany. In fact it is at the bottom of the list as far as GNP is concerned. There are very few big industries. And general manufacturing is more than specialised industrial manufacturing. Very few industrial houses. The medium sized companies are owned by old kings' families. No good prospectus for businessmen & they don't show Interest in increasing their businesses like the erstwhile capitalists, like how our Ambanis, Tatas, Birlas do.

2. This is because the general attitude of the people here. They don't like to work, They like to enjoy life. People here are assured of minimum wages for whatever work you do. Hence people prefer the low-skilled jobs than industrial jobs. Low skilled jobs are normally are working in bar, shop, even electrician or plumber. They earn almost the same as industrial worker.

3. This is also because most of the industrial jobs have fixed timing & 5 days work. Italians don't like to tie themselves with strict timings, they like flexibility. In my company all non-Italians come at 6.00 am & work 10 hrs min, second shift same, they go home at 2.00 am. & Italians come 8.00 to 5.00 , No Saturdays & Sundays.

4. Hence, finding a skilled & most important willing person to work in industry is nightmare for the management.

5. Further, they can not attract people from one industry to the other because pay-scales are almost same across industry. e.g. The engineer working for some non-industrial company will get the same pay for the same level in industrial company.

6. In general, the students also don't like to study for 16 years to become doctor or engineer. It is very tough to spend these many years to study as
per them. Hence the industrial staff also is not having engineering formal education. They earn the required technical skills by working on-job hands-on. On day 1, I was surprised to find only 3 engineers in Production team incl my boss, ProdMgr or only one qualified engineer in QA that too he is in-charge, only 3 engineers in design department. Further to my surprise, out of 11 design staff, 8 are draftsman working as design engineers. Sales,Marketing, Project Management, Purchase : all these functions are handled by under-graduates & not engineers as in India or elsewhere. And, this is the trend allover industry.

7. Looking at the advertisements in newspapers, the demand for general operators (which includes, turners, machine operators, assembly line operators, chemical plant operators), auto-cad draftsman, fitters, auto-mecahnics & maintt fitters is tremendous. With these trends, in fact the industry close down rate is alarming. Except auto-industry is booming. There is strong attarction for career in automobiles. All the engineers who pass out, will always want to go to auto industry.

9. Normally, the employer hire people for 3 to 6 months only as a trial period. I learnt that this is because even people leave the job within 2-3 months if they don't like. This happens more than the retainment by employer.

10. The labour & industy has gone thr' turmoils during the last 3 to 4 decades. But for the last 15 years industrial peace is here to stay. Thirty years ago, there was a lot of industrial unrest. Strikes were the order of the day. A lot of unions in each company. No political affiliations. A lot of fights for wages, hikes, facilities, rights. The strikes would come at short notice. Many times strikes would last only for 3 to 4 hours. Always there would be street demonstrations in big capital cities like Roma, Milano, Napoli. I heard that this is the forgotten past now. The systematic & steady labour reforms have changed everything. This needs appreciation. The laws force the companies to have everything for labour & nobody can escape from it. ( in fact, I will write a detailed mail later as far as law enforcement here is concerned), And this is the best change country has witnessed. In spite of the political instability ( that is the another topic, I will be commenting on), the labour scenerio & social scenario have changed for better.

12. Social security ( another nice topic ) assurance is the tax paid by every citizen, they have to actively work for 35 years of their life. Earn minimum to live & pay this tax. Once you pay this tax, then rest of the life, you get the pension, you get the medical facilities free of cost. What else you want ? And the min wages are so assured that even if I work in supermarket as cashier, I get payment which satisfies all my necessities & also pay the required tax. Yes, I will not be able to buy new generation mobile with this pay, but certainly will be able to eat nice things thr'out the month ( salaries for such small jobs are paid weekly ). You know. last week I had a hair cut for Rs 900/- ( 15 Euros ) , then I bought the hair trimmer for 15 Euros for next 5 months.

The general impression about India here is that the country, its people arevery poor. But they are hard working. Italians don't fear like Americans that one day India & China will be superpowers because Italians in general are not at all aware what Indians are capable of. They don't know much about India, Indian heroes. This is partly because general interest level of Italians. They are just not bothered about the rest of the world. They are more bothered about beauty, food, clothes etc. etc. But are very simple people without any bias.

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Thane, India
Project Management Professional, PMP Director, Fabtech CE Pvt Ltd, India Currently in Italy for marketing activities in European Engineering Sector. Politically and Socially active, currently active with small political party "Samajvadi Jan Parishad" and social movement promoting intercaste marriages in India "Pratibimb Mishra Vivah Mandal"

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