Correspondent in Rome
To clean Rome, one of the dirtiest cities in Europe, the new mayor, Roberto Gualtieri, of the Democratic Party, left, has invented a solution that has created a great scandal: pay a bonus to avoid work absenteeism. The municipal waste collection company (AMA), one of the largest in Europe, with 7,500 workers, is chronically ill on the brink of bankruptcy. Chronic is also absenteeism from work. Any worker easily obtains a medical certificate of sick leave. The company’s data indicates that the absenteeism reaches an average of 15% of the staffIn other words, more than 1,000 employees miss work every day. The absence of controls encourages this fraud.
The result is that the Italian capital lives almost permanently the emergency of waste collection.
The dirt, with rubbish accumulated in many streets even in the center of the capital, has been a reflection of the failure of the previous mayor’s management Virginia Raggi, of the 5-star Movement, which won the city council 5 years ago with 70% of the votes, but lost it resoundingly last October, when less than 20% of the Romans voted for it. His successor, Roberto Gualtieri, former Minister of Economy, The first commitment he made after being elected was to clean up the city for Christmas. For this, the new management of the AMA company has decided to grant a bonus of 360 euros gross to employees who do not be absent in 50 days from work until January 9 (except holidays and days off provided by law). With three days of absence, the bonus is lowered to 260 euros, with five days to 200 euros. These are considerable figures, taking into account that the average salary of these employees is 1,400 gross euros per month.
Ultimately, the city council, in agreement with the unions of the municipal company, rewards the employees for doing their normal work, so that they do not “get sick.” The cost of the operation is three million euros, Bonuses that are paid not for doing extra work or improving production, but only to avoid absences.
The unions and the city council defend themselves by pointing out that this is a “normal reward for productivity.” The municipality also warns that “from now on the fraud of astute employees will end.” But the Italian media consider the new mayor’s move as a scandal, a shame for those who do their job honestly and pay the municipal taxes in Rome, the highest in Italy. The newspaper ‘La Repubblica’ affirms that the new mayor Gualtieri has invented “Honest corruption” and warns of the risk that, after Christmas, garbage will accumulate again and the city council will have to resort to new subsidy bonds to clean up the city.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism