CNCE - Commissione Nazionale Paritetica per le Casse Edili
Joint National Committee for Building Workers' Welfare Funds
The Joint National Committee for Buildings Workers' Welfare Funds (Casse Edili) is a body founded by the building workers' trade unions and the federation of employers of construction industry.
The function of guiding and coordinating building workers' welfare funds has been given to this Committee by the national trades unions.
What are Welfare Funds?
They are independent bodies founded in every province of Italy according to the rules of the national collective agreement signed by the Employers' Federation and the three national Trade Unions of the sector.
The history of Welfare Funds is very long : the first was founded in Milan in 1919; the others mainly after the end of the second World War.
Like the National Committee, each Welfare Fund (an autonomous body, as stated before) is managed by a joint board composed of representatives of the local building trade unions and contractors association.
Although they are independent bodies created by local organisations, the structure of Welfare Funds and their most important functions are defined by the national collective agreement.
The main activity - which was the basis of the foundation many years ago - is to receive every month a part of the salary from firms, which is destined for the payment of holidays (20 working days per year) and of the thirteenth monthly salary paid at Christmas.
The sum received by the Welfare Funds and then by the workers is now 18.50% of the monthly salary of each worker (10% for Christmas salary and 8.50% for holidays).
Second activity: in May every year, the Welfare Fund gives the workers another important part of the wage, which is calculated according to length of service in the sector and the amount of work done by each worker over the previous year.
The most significant fact is the connection of this part of the salary with the length of service of the worker in the whole sector of building industry, irrespective of the length of service with any particular firm.
For this reward for the seniority in the sector, managed in a mutual way by the Fund, the companies pay a contribution of about 5% of the salary.
The third area of action is to top up workers' national insurance payments in the event of sick-leave or workplace accidents.
Fourthly, another significant activity for the Funds is related to the recent creation of the National Fund for the private integration of pensions which workers receive from social security upon retirement.
The Integration Fund for building workers began activity in 2003 and the Welfare Funds are involved in this important area.
All the subjects treated up to now are covered by national collective agreements. But at local level, with local contracts, trade unions and employers have introduced further services: scholarships and holiday camps for the children of building workers, insurance for non-workplace accidents, reimbursement of expenses for medical examinations, dental treatment, orthopaedic prostheses, and so on.
As a matter of fact, help with medical expenses is now an expanding field.
In each province of Italy, there are two other local joint bodies covered by the national collective agreement.
Their activity is vocational training and health and safety in the construction industry.
The activity of these other bodies is different from that of the Welfare Funds, because these two bodies carry out a direct action in health and safety (e.g. medical examinations for occupational diseases and suggestions to the firms about prevention of accidents at work).
The Building Workers' Welfare Funds (which remain private bodies, as does the National Committee) have received important acknowledgements in Italian legislation and public departments.
At the moment about 90,000 firms and more than 700,000 workers are registered at the Welfare Funds.