A Venetian economist, Renato Brunetta, is also the Minister for Public Administration whose popularity has recently soared to 60%. The increase is linked to what is known as a revolution within the Italian Public Administration.
During the last three months, Brunetta has achieved his first noteworthy goal in his personal war against the fannulloni – sluggards – of the Italian workforce: “In a few months there has been an almost 50% drop in the number of sick days and I’m no magician”, said the minister during a press conference. On a yearly base, that means 60.000 workers were added to this sector, without spending a dime.
The Public Administration should help citizens in their interactions with the government and make things easier for everyone. It is the first step toward and healthy economic growth. As a result of Marxist-like policies, though, the Italian Pa was transformed into some sort of safe haven for people who don’t like working.
This translates into endless queues in public offices and an enormous waste of public money. The government, in fact, invests roughly 300 billion euro each year in this sector. During the last decade, not only were the salaries of employees doubled and thus kept way above the inflation rate; but Pa’s productivity level has been consistently 50% less than the private sector. The problem here is obvious: while public employees are paid more, they tend to produce less than private workers do.
To understand the impact of Brunetta’s revolution, we have to remember that Italy has 3.65 million state employees. In order to reverse this trend of inefficiency, “The salary is now made up of two parts, one is fixed while the other is, as a result of Brunetta’s reform, linked to productivity, usually between about 10 and 15 euro. It is clear that, if a public worker is at home due to illness, this second part will be reduced”.
It seems rational; although, there has been criticism from the leader of Cisl Union, Raffaele Bonanni who said: “Minister Brunetta has mistaken his role for that of a showman”.
As Pether Popham argues on The Independent, “It is too early to tell if Mr. Brunetta's reforms have revolutionised national behaviour. Italians have a tendency to react swiftly and prudently to draconian new laws, but then to slide quietly back into their traditional ways when vigilance slackens and the immediate danger has passed”.
We agree on that, but consider this: Renato Brunetta’s predecessor, Luigi Nicolais, attempted to implement a very different strategy: he raised the wages of over 200,000 ministerial employees by 101 euro per month. He also introduced a new productivity based system which recognized the hours of overtime work, by increasing the salary, without any guarantee that the workers would actually increase their level of productivity. This, however, proved to be a rash move that did not result in any improvement.
Brunetta thinks that the Italian Public sector lacks a system of benefits and deterrents. If a worker receives more money for every extra hour at the office, this person will probably work more; on the contrary, calling in sick too many times will mean being fired. Italians cannot afford fannulloni anymore. Who can?
In conclusion, even though it is too early to say that the “Brunetta revolution” is really under way; we can certainly recognize that this Minister is trying to change things, which is great news. We can assume that this change is the reason that his popularity has increased so much in such a short amount of time. This Venice-born politician has, in fact, introduced something that every Italian has dreamed about but that no one else has dared to do before: he has instituted a “turnstile” at the Parliament. Now every member of the Parliament must slide an electronic card in the baffle gate in order to get in and out. What a shame.