Messina, work and employment according to the CGIL: the data remain discouraging


By John

CGIL Messina analyzes and gives a reading of the latest ISTAT, INPS data and those concerning the productive economic fabric (Movimprese) of the city of Messina and its province. A picture from which a situation of many emergencies emerges, starting from that of work to others that concern the needs and rights of citizens. The general secretary of the CGIL Messina, Pietro Patti, points out that, faced with the many critical issues and interventions to be implemented, the CGIL has sent several meeting requests to the city and metropolitan administration.

“Several times – declares Patti – we have urged the mayor of Messina and the metropolitan city to meet us for a discussion regarding issues relating to welfare, development policies, the use of structural funds and the Pnrr, which should have the aim to reduce economic and social gaps and encourage active participation in the labor market, especially of women and young people. Some important requests regarding issues that affect living conditions have remained unanswered.” The CGIL Messina also highlights the exclusion of the union from the tables convened to address issues that have an impact on employment aspects. “At the table on the trade crisis – says Patti – the trade union organizations representing the interests of male and female workers were not involved, in a sector which has also seen a collapse with the loss of many jobs. The union, as a bearer of collective interests, must be present in the spaces and venues where work, social well-being and other issues are discussed and must be involved. In fact, we think it is appropriate to establish more moments of discussion with the social partners”. Looking at the data, the report and analysis by CGIL Messina highlight the employment and social critical issues. “The data relating to employment in the Messina area give us an alarming picture, on which we need to intervene quickly and with a clear and systemic strategic vision”, points out the confederal secretary of the CGIL Messina, Stefania Radici, with responsibility for the market of work, welfare, social and development policies.

Employment is increasing but the work is precarious and poor – Istat data relating to employment for 2023 indicate an increase in employed people, also due to the increase in assets. There are 176,000 employed people in the Messina area (107,000 men and 69,000 women), 7,000 more units than in 2022. “However, there is no reason to rejoice – observes the secretary of the CGIL Messina, Radici – because as the INPS Observatory records on new employment relationships, only 13.9% are hired with a permanent contract. 56.5% of new hires in 2023 signed a fixed-term contract, 22.2% had a seasonal contract, 3.1% on an apprenticeship, 2.4% an intermittent contract and 1.8 % administered. The work that has been created is a precarious job, which does not provide the stability to imagine and build autonomous life paths. Furthermore, work in Messina is a poor job, if we consider that 36.5% of taxpayers have an income from 0 to 10,000 euros. Over half of taxpayers (52.7%) have an income from 0 to 15,000 euros. An economic poverty that often undermines the possibility of having a decent home, a heated or air-conditioned environment, access to care in an increasingly privatized system, the possibility of enjoying cultural and social events, as well as the possibility of guaranteeing study and education for their children”.

Trade is in deep crisis and the manufacturing sector is still in decline, slowing down construction – “If we look at the sectors of activity – the secretary of the CGIL Messina continues with the analysis of the data – we notice an increase in employment in the agriculture, forestry and fishing sectors (from 10,000 to 11,000), although the number of companies in the sector is decreasing. We note a loss of workers in the construction sector, in line with the business closures that have occurred following the end of incentives and bonuses; a growth in the number of people employed in industry strictly speaking (from 16,000 to 20,000 units), which is not due to the manufacturing sector, which has been in decline for several years. If we consider the historical series of the demographics of companies in the industrial macro sector, manufacturing activities are decreasing and companies supplying electricity, gas, steam, air conditioning or sewerage system maintenance are on the rise. Those employed in the tertiary sector increased by 3,000 units for a total of 129,000. But, within the sector, trade is experiencing a crisis, with the loss of around 500 companies in one year, which has led to the loss of a thousand employees, mostly women. And this decline has been recorded in an inexorable manner since the pandemic period and does not stop despite the epidemiological emergency having been overcome”.

The condition of women, especially young women, is worrying – Not only is there a loss of employed women in all youth groups (15-24 years; 18-29 years; 15-29 years; 15-34 years), but there is also an increase in inactivity: in the 15- At 34 years of age, 58.8% of women are inactive and the main reasons for inactivity, for those who do not study, are linked to family and discouragement. “We cannot resign ourselves to the fact – comments Stefania Radici – that young women are out of the job market, that they have to give up job opportunities and it is very serious when this renunciation depends on the burden of caring for the family in a context in which they are services for children and vulnerable categories are totally absent”.

An increasingly older population losing young people – Out of a population of around 600,000 inhabitants (among other things in free fall, considering that we have lost 60,000 inhabitants in 20 years), we have 176,000 employed; 166,000 pensioners; 42,000 are unemployed. The dependency ratio is 57.7%, which means that for every 100 individuals of active age there are almost 58 of non-active age (under 15 and over 65). The old age index is equal to 208.1% which means that there are 100 under 15s for every 208 elderly people, a population that is losing young people due to the low birth rate and the flow of emigration. In 2022 there are 13,328 those who have canceled themselves from the registry to migrate to other realities, of these 6,648 are young people aged 18 to 39 and 1,959 are those under 17 who with their families have decided to leave in search of conditions of better lives. “Young people – comments Radici – who elsewhere find decent job opportunities in line with their study paths, something that the local productive fabric is not able to offer. Not using and enhancing the skills of these young people and letting them go means depleting the territory of precious resources capable of producing innovation and wealth”.

Messina and Sicily increasingly distant from Europe – The CGIL Messina further adds that there is nothing to rejoice about if employment increases because, if we broaden our gaze to Europe, Sicily has the lowest employment rates, the highest unemployment, particularly among young people and long term, the highest rates of NEETs between 15 and 29 years old who do not study or work, very high rates of school dropout (Sicily has 18.8% of early leavers, the highest figure among the regions of Italy (and given that in Europe it is only surpassed by Hungary, Romania and Bulgaria), very low graduate rates (17.8%), the lowest figure in Italy and which in Europe is slightly surpassed by South-Muntenia in Romania.

For the CGIL Messina, it is necessary to build a strategy that aims at the social and working inclusion of all those who are on the margins or outside the labor market and to look at welfare, both as a tool through which to respond to the many needs of the population, but also as a driver of employment. “Furthermore – say the general secretary Patti and the confederal secretary Radici – it is necessary to identify strategic production sectors, capable of producing wealth and linking the digital and ecological transition, and implementing policies to build production chains around them. We need to think from an integrated system perspective and not with isolated interventions that fail to trace trajectories of sustainable development for the territory”.