1. Brief Description of Employees and Employers Organizations
In general, employees and employers organizations are structured as private associations governed by articles 36-38 of the Civil Code.
In Italy, unions are primarily organized by sector according to the type of business.
Unions are either independent or associated with one of the three union confederations. The three union confederations have differing ideological and political orientations.
Employers are also organized into unions or associations. These are established as private associations that are grouped into confederations according to the type of enterprise represented.
These confederations are composed of the various employer associations, each representing a specific industry.
2. Rights and Importance of Trade Unions
Unions are not recognized by the Italian State as entities with a legal personality and are free to regulate their internal activities as they deem appropriate. Legally, collective agreements only bind individuals who are actually members of the union that is a signatory to the agreement. Although this is the legal rule, in practice, once a collective agreement is concluded, even non-union members typically accept its terms.
Since collective bargaining is subject to private law, collective agreements are regulated by the laws applicable to private contracts in general.