Five words - I mean exactly five - said at 11 in the evening in the course of an event in Bergamo ("like for example law 626") have ignited a dispute that I frankly feel is way out of proportion.
I will try, at this point, to outline my thoughts better. Using more than just five words.
Civilisation and stupidity. Workplace safety is an inalienable achievement of western civilisation.
The sharp-eyed and stifling presence of bureaucracy is a by-product of stupidity.
It is clear for all to see that European firms have been burdened by excessive bureaucracy over the past years.
As a reaction, an opposite cycle is now underway: stop regulation, less regulation and better regulation. And Law 626 is no exception.
In the case of Law 626 - which, it should be observed, has been absorbed in a new consolidating act - it is necessary to distinguish between efficient workplace safety, which is a crucial aspect, and excessive bureaucracy, which is utterly foolish.
The regulations defined at a European level for large-scale industry are fundamental and inviolable.
But one thing is the large-scale industry and another is the small or micro enterprise that is a key feature of the Italian economy.
It is the application in Italy of the European Directive that is sheer folly: artificial costs, ghost training and retraining courses, erratic sanctions. The paradoxical fact is that in Italy there has been an exasperated application of work-related safety measures even to the smallest of enterprises that little have to do with the kind of work they do. Maybe - no: remove the "maybe" - we can do without these kind of regulations/costs without in anyway putting at risk the lives and safety of workers. As matter of fact, we would actually be protecting them better by applying what is serious and getting rid with what is silly. We can compete with China not by compromising the lives or safety of workers, but by possibly avoiding doing harm to ourselves. I repeat: one thing is the large-scale industry where fatal accidents occur, one thing is the workshop of an artisan who works on his own without even a single apprentice, who is literally driven mad by bureaucracy. It is also because it does not understand these things that the left is progressively, and fatally, distancing itself from reality.
I would be very happy to talk about these topics with Tiziano Treu, who was my labour law teacher, and with Cesare Damiano, a former labour minister. And allow me also to suggest the venue for this debate: the headquarters of the artisans' association of Mestre.