From the June 22 European edition of the Wall Street Journal comes some very informative analysis of why Italy’s economy is not growing.
No. 1 issue gumming up the entrepreneurial spirit is the number 16. Once a business hires its 16th employee “it is either impossible or very expensive to dismiss a staffer.”
That, of course, is motivation for never growing your business. Fiat Motor Co. is paying laid-off workers two-thirds of their salary.
The 16th hire means your stuck with every employee and every employee knows it. But an earlier break point is the 11th person hired. That triggers filing of a health and safety hazard self-assessment with the national government. “These include work-related stress and stress caused by age, gender and racial differences.” And they want names, including the name of the doctor who must be there for the self-assessment.
The 16th employee also means unions can organize your workers. The more employees you have the more union representatives you have whom you are required to give a day off each month for union business.
“Management must consult with these worker reps on everything from gender equality to the introduction of new technology,” the Wall Street Journal noted.
Another requirement after the 16th hire is that the next hire must qualify as disabled. By the 51st hire 7 percent of the business’ workers must be handicapped. Of course you can just pay fines in lieu of meeting this standard.
Italian unemployment is 10 percent and GDP is forecast to contract 1.3 percent this year. It is estimated a quarter of the Italian economy is off-the-books business trying to look small.
From Italy and its 40-year legacy of stifling labor law we shift to Spain, where on Aug. 9 the mayor of a town called Ecija participated along with activists from the Andalusian Workers Union in ripping off the local grocery store, rushing out with nine grocery carts full of stolen goods.
There’s trouble in Europe and it’s not just governments running deficits and having to take austerity measures. There’s a lot about western Europe that is just plain messed up and rotten to the core.