MILAN — As the lockdown of all nonessential activities in Italy continues at least until April 13, Confindustria Moda, the association representing more than 65,000 Made in Italy textile, fashion and accessories companies generating total revenues of 95.5 billion euros and employing 585,000 people, is thinking about a plan to effectively return to business.
The association issued a note late Friday highlighting key points seen as necessary to help safeguard both employees’ health and the survival of the sector’s companies upon a return to operation.
In particular, the document proposes that the sector’s employees be divided into age groups and the elder workers be prevented from working until a later date. Similarly, the note aims for the fashion, textile and accessories companies to be allowed to return to operate on a territorial basis and in light of the number of COVID-19 cases in the respective areas, so as to guarantee that less-affected regions and provinces can return to business earlier. Confindustria Moda points out that Southern regions — currently less affected by the outbreak and traditionally characterized by a weaker economy — can experience the minimum impact.
As of Friday, the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Italy reached 85,388, according to a tally by the Protezione Civile, or Civil Protection.
The government’s decision to shut all nonessential manufacturing activities since March 12 was based on the Ateco criteria, which regroups companies based on their specific businesses, raising criticism. The association is now urging the institutions to “take into consideration the complexity of the [sector’s] pipeline,” in selecting the new criteria after the lockdown ends. In particular, it is asking that all its companies can gradually return to work, prioritizing at least all the essential nonmanufacturing departments including design, prototyping, quality control and sales, among others.
Confindustria Moda is also proposing to come to terms with the sector’s employees and their representatives with a so-called “summer vacations pact,” to anticipate a one-week summer leave in May or June, thus reducing the closure of the companies during the month of August from three weeks to one week around the Ferragosto national holiday on Aug. 15 and support the gradual restart of the activities. It is also pledging to offer workers the remaining vacation days later in the year. The move reflects a decision taken by eyewear company Luxottica Group, which announced a similar plan on April 2, as reported.
Noting the sector’s restart might be uneven across companies and areas, the association is also asking its enterprises be offered more flexibility in taking advantage of the secondment of staff, an employment measure that allows a business to temporarily assign a group of its employees to another host organization.