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General Assembly of the Rubber and Plastic Federation (Federazione Gomma Plastica): an Italian excellence

On June 15, 2018 the General Assembly of the Plastic Rubber Federation was held in Milan. The  proceedings were introduced by the Federation’s Chairman, Giorgio Quagliuolo, who spoke together with Confindustria’s Deputy Chairman for work and industrial relations, Maurizio Stirpe, and Emilio Miceli Secretary General of Filctem-CGIL. The meeting highlighted the positive overall  performance of the sector. In fact, data relating to the performance of the Plastic Sector in Italy depict a rather dynamic sector. With about 11,000 companies making up the National sector (and an impressive 22% at European level), the turnover in 2017 was about 31 billion euro (+ 2.3% compared to 2016). Of these companies, 5,000 are active in the initial transformation stage and employ just under 110,000 workers (6.8% of all European employees in the sector). Export appears to be driving the sector with plastic products reaching a value of 11.7 billion euro in 2017 (preliminary results), with an increase of around 7% on a yearly basis. This means that exports represent a 38.7% share of the total Italian production (37.7% in 2016) with a positive trade balance of 5.2 billion euro. As far as the production of rubber is concerned, 2017 closed with a slight 1% increase (total production: around 550,000 tons), which includes a + 3% for tires and a -1% for technical items. Furthermore, 2018 started on a high note; the estimated production figure for the first five months of the year shows a + 2% for tires and a + 5% for technical items. Looking at raw materials, the 2017-2018 two-year period was rather inconsistent with, on the one hand, an increase in the price of synthetic rubbers, and on the other, a general decline in the price of natural rubber. "The Italian rubber and plastic industry is a true Italian excellence, able to cope with the crisis investing in innovation and export, which represents a significant share of our production - commented Giorgio Quagliuolo, Chairman of the Rubber Plastic Federation -, and we are going ahead with defining a new model of industrial relationships which we hope will be enduring and lead to fewer “conflicts”, able to meet the needs of all parties involved. Our goal is to finalize the ongoing debates on this new model by September 30, 2019, and then focus on the renewal of the National Labour Contract for the sector". 2017 represented for the sector as a whole, a year of great changes as well as hefty investments in innovation and sustainability. In fact, the sector experienced an increase in the production cycle and the use of recycled polymers in the previous 12 months: 10% for the Pet (main food containers sectors); 5.5% for polyethylene (bags, pipes, packaging); 3.5% for polypropylene and an extraordinary 75% for polystyrene, prevalently used in the building sector for thermal insulation.

During the Assembly, a debate on the agreement ratified on March 9 by Confindustria, Cgil, Cisl and Uil, called "Patto della Fabbrica” (Pact for the Factory), took place. This was crucial in  introducing the next contract renewal season expected to take into account the provisions made within the agreement itself. In particular, a special focus was placed on two important features introduced by the agreement: the first is related to the definition of contractual models as the agreement considers valid both the Chemistry sector contract with higher minimum wages and the Metalworking industry with increases in the final balance. The second noteworthy piece of news relates to the introduction of the Minimum Economic Treatment (TEM), i.e. the increase in the minimum wage tables and the Overall Economic Treatment (TEC), i.e.  all the contractual items with an economic impact.

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