Before speaking about temporary employment, I waited for this institution – which is totally innovative in Italy – to have the time to consolidate and become part of companies’ and workers’ behaviours. During the Seventies, businesses would have regarded the option to hire personnel temporarily as a dream; it was the period immediately after the great changes in industrial relations, which everybody did not understand or accept. The workers’ charter had been a big stone thrown into a pond, and the beginnings of its implementation had often involved situations of difficult manageability. Any idea of flexible employment would have been welcomed with enthusiasm, but it would have met with strong resistance, and it was necessary to wait until recently before a legislation on temporary labour was enacted. Currently, however, ordinary employment regulations allow to cope with special needs in a flexible manner, and this very possibility has decreased the attractiveness of temporary employment, which in tourism has difficulty taking off. Why has temporary labour so little grip in this field, if it seems to be successful in many other economic sectors? The answer is probably simpler than one could expect: this is a sector where specificity – i.e. professionalism – constitutes a critical asset, and its absence may significantly affect business. Nowadays every employer is searching for the best elements, who consequently have the possibility to choose, and – in choosing – they are unlikely to give their preference to precarious, temporary jobs. I often talk with tourist operators about the problems they have with recruitment, particularly as we are approaching the summer season, and sometimes I sympathise with their difficulties, but I realise they are still unwilling to make use of this form of employment, even after having tried it out. The time is probably not ripe: the people who register with temporary help agencies have a cultural background reflecting the experience of permanent positions, and it will take some time, presumably, for workers – skilled professionals – to opt for careers where temporary employment is a true alternative, not a last resort.
About temporary employment
Di Bruno De Caria presidente Aicr Italia, 31 Maggio 2002