CHAMPIONING ITALY:Miuccia and I care about Italy very much and we feel it is our duty to grow the company by hiring young people,” said Prada chief Patrizio Bertelli in a La Repubblica article on Tuesday. After urging the government to promote tourism in Italy, Bertelli, responding to a question, said he has inked an agreement with the unions whereby employees will see a reduction of five days in yearly paid holidays compensated by a salary increase of 400 euros, or $522 at current exchange. “We are happy to help workers in a difficult moment. We hope other companies will follow this route,” said Bertelli.

The entrepreneur noted that “in Italy, there are too many poor manufacturers that cannot justify such high costs in addition to a fiscal pressure that stimulates tax evasion. In Germany and France, it’s different.”

This story first appeared in the October 24, 2012 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

Bertelli said the company has been investing in its workforce both in Italy and abroad. As of September, the group counted 9,732 employees, compared with 8,061 in December 2010. In Italy, the number of workers has grown to 3,564 from 3,341, with a strong increase in the retail and corporate areas. “The average wages in our group are 30 percent higher than the average pays in the country,” said Bertelli, adding that he has “no intention to move know-how and production in low-cost countries.

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