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Italian bank workers to inherit job
Bank in Italy allows employees to bequeath jobs to close relatives to cut costs.
Last Modified: 21 Nov 2009 17:56
Reaction on the Italian street has been mixed, but the deal has raised issues of social mobility

An Italian bank based in Rome has decided to make jobs hereditary in a bid to cut costs when replacing older staff.

Under a deal signed with unions, some 76 employees of Banca di Credito Cooperativo di Roma must take early retirement, accepting a payoff or passing their job to a younger relative.

The three-year agreement, which comes into force on 1 January, stipulates that those put forward by their relatives will have to be interviewed and prove "they possess the requirements" needed to do the work.

The BCC di Roma, which has 127 branches and 18,700 account holders, will get the last word on who is taken on.

Mixed reaction

Reaction to the deal was mixed. Franco Ferrarotti, and Italian sociologist, told Al Jazeera on Saturday questions the whole rationale behind giving jobs to blood relatives in a country that has suffered so much at the hands of the Mafia.

"Lets not forget that [the term] mafia itself is nothing but an instance of the corruption of family loyalty.

"I consider this idea, especially in view of the fact that we have so many young people in Italy working in a precarious situation, that is to say - with a termination contract - I consider this situation to be very, very negative."

However, Lando Sileoni, joint general secretary of the bank workers' union, said the deal could offer a new business model.

"The big banking groups should take the deal in Rome as an example," he told UK's The Guardian newspaper.

The Milan-based newspaper Corriere della Sera also called decried the deal, saying it was an attack on "one of the most important means with which to try to build a more open economy: social mobility".

Social mobility

Italy is among Europe's least socially mobile countries. Figures compiled by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation (OECD) show that less than 18% of people born into the poorest quarter of the population move up to the next-poorest 25%.

Italy also fares badly in comparisons in what is known as "income elasticity" – the variation in earnings from one generation to the next.

And whether done formally or informally, many positions are already handed from parent to child.

As recently as 1992, the government in Rome issued a decree reserving a fifth of all the openings in the Italian postal service for relatives of employees and ex-employees.

Source:
Al Jazeera and agencies
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