New statistics suggesting an increase in the number of permanent work contracts last month were greeted Monday as “good news” by Labour Minister Giuliano Poletti.
The statistics from his labour department showed a net increase of 48,000 new permanent contracts last month over March.
Poletti said that was setting an important trend.
“The objective that the government has set is to make it so that the permanent contract is once again the norm,” in employment, he said.
“If things continue to go in this direction, we are very happy,” he added.
Officials attributed the rise to the government’s controversial Jobs Act labour reforms.
The reforms make it easier for employers to fire newly hired workers and introduces a new form of labour contract with gradually increasing levels of protection.
The measures came into force on March 6 and Premier Matteo Renzi has said the reforms will encourage firms to hire new staff and help combat unemployment.
The reforms also aim to improve the quality of labour contracts, replacing a plethora of temporary and other low-paying, no-benefits contracts that have proliferated in Italy in recent years, meaning a regular full time job is increasingly hard to find.
Monday’s labour ministry statistics showed that some 210,000 net new work contracts were recorded in April, including permanent and temporary positions, for a total of 756,926 posts.
That was slightly more than the 203,000 net contracts in April 2014 but a greater number of this year’s positions are permanent, the government said.
More than 48,000 permanent posts were created last month compared with a loss of about 6,000 permanent positions during April 2014, the labour ministry said.
A total of 171,515 permanent contracts were reported last month compared with 122,979 contract terminations for the net gain of more than 48,000 stable positions.
The ministry said that there were almost 113,000 more posts in April than in the same time 2014.
The government said that the figures demonstrate the effectiveness of Renzi’s controversial Jobs Act.
Last month, it reported 92,000 net new jobs were recorded in March.
Also Monday, Susanna Camusso, leader of the powerful CGIL trade union federation, said Monday that she fears “disappointments” when she meets with Italy’s labour minister about the government’s Jobs Act decree.
The decree, which is expected to become formal legislation as early as next month, is still being tweaked and Wednesday’s meetings with Poletti are said to be an opportunity for proposals.
But Camusso said she has low expectations.
She said unions are hoping for greater shock absorbers for workers as well as better employment protections that the existing decree contain.
“We hope that it is not like other meetings, where no proposals have come and without telling us the text of the decree,” she said.
Earlier this month, Poletti said the government would present enacting decrees on its Jobs Act labour reform law by mid-June in order to meet deadlines imposed by the current decree.
Poletti has previously said that all of the measures contained in the Jobs Act should be law by August
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