What happens in Italy when an enterprise is in crisis? If it is a Small or Medium Enterprise, simply nothing, it will shut down, wind up and fire its employees.
If it is a larger company the trade unions and the Authorities will be involved, typically striking a deal which will trigger the operation of the Earnings Integration Fund. This means that the employees will not be fired but instead paid a reduced salary by the Fund.
In theory, the support of the Fund is temporary, it should last only until the resolution of the crisis, as envisaged by an industrial plan. In practice, in many cases the employees were paid for years – without actually working – even if there was no real perspective of the company recovering.
In other cases, the support was simply too generous. For example, Alitalia employees were paid thousands of euros every months.
For these reasons a recent Government Decree tightened the rules governing the Fund, which was answered with some criticism by the trade unions.