ITALY – Manufacturing and service industry body Confindustria is looking at opening up discussion with the unions Cisl and Uil over pension reform.

Confindustria head Antonio d’Amato announced the possibility of working with the unions on pensions in an interview with weekly news magazine Panorama. “The pensions knot is not easy, but if we confront it with the sense of responsibility that has accompanied us up till now we might be able to untie it,” said d’Amato.

He ruled out working with other major union Cgil, which has outraged its president, Morena Piccinini, who says that the three unions have worked together, and Cgil has a major role to play. D’Amato points to Cgil’s political standing as a reason for its exclusion.

With regards to the intervention of the EU in Italy’s pensions reform, d’Amato added “Italy must solve its pensions problems by itself.”

“Each country within continental Europe has this problem (with pensions) but each of them has a different public debt structure, different industrial relation systems, different characteristics of population ageing.

“Europe has to relaunch the issue of competitiveness but I believe that our pension problem we must solve on our own,” said d’Amato.

Last week d’Amato appealed to the government to get on with the pensions reform, and to consider disincentives. Parliament is currently looking at a draft bill that does not use disincentives for those going into retirement, but instead looks at incentives for those who stay at work.

Said d’Amato last week: “Those who opt for early retirement will have to receive something less than those who choose to stay at work and shorten their retirement.”

D’Amato also urged the government to put reform in place before the budget in September. Mario Baldassarri, vice minister of the economy, this week promised that an agreement with the unions on the issue of pensions reform would be made prior to the summer holidays.