Expo labour pact provides 800 jobs for young interns

Flexibility agreement could become national model

Expo labour pact provides 800 jobs for young interns

(by Sandra Cordon)Milan, July 24 - A flexible labour pact between unions and management of Milan Expo 2015 could create as many as 800 jobs for youth at the world's fair, including apprentices and on-the-job training in mounting special events, organizers say. The new protocol could also become a model of cooperation and employment flexibility for other major events in future, say proponents of the deal, which must still be approved by the Italian government. Premier Enrico Letta has already praised the agreement as "an excellent deal," and one that could become "a national model" for other relevant events. Signed by Giuseppe Sala, commissioner of Milan Expo, and several major union organizations including the CGIL, CISL and UIL, the protocol covers workers involved in preparations for world fair as well as the event itself. The deal is an important "first step" towards creating new jobs connected with Milan Expo 2015, says Labour Minister Enrico Giovannini. And it includes several "good ideas" on work experience training, apprenticeship programs and worker safety, said Giovannini. "The social partners have understood the importance of the event internationally as a historic opportunity for the country, especially in terms of opportunities for increased employment," said the minister. Milan's Expo 2015 will open on May 1, 2015 and continue until October 31 of that year. The protocol focuses on flexible arrangements in relation to apprenticeships, fixed-term contracts, and on-the-job training for workers who want to specialize in technical management of major events and the relevant systems. It is designed to cover contracts of at least six months to a maximum of one year. About 340 designated apprentices, who must be under the age 29, are covered and another 300 fixed-term contracts that could begin in 2014 are provided for, drawing from lists of unemployed workers. As well, just under 200 intern trainees working in 17 different vocational areas are included under the protocol, earning compensation for their expenses and daily meals. "It is a laboratory", for flexible arrangements, says Labour Committee President Maurizio Sacconi. The text also defines the scope of activities for volunteers recruited directly by Expo 2015 SpA to assist in hospitality and greeting visitors from the more than 130 countries that have so far signed on to participate in Expo 2015. It has been estimated that about 18,500 official volunteers will be included in programming, working a minimum of five hours daily for an average of two weeks each so a larger number of individuals can be included in the volunteer rotation.

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