Elisabetta Franchi, the Labor judge: “Illegitimate and anti-union conduct” in the Betty Blue company

A week of controversy and then now also a sentence for Betty Blue’s company Elisabetta Franchi. To send disciplinary disputes to those who did not work because they joined a strike called against overtime it is an illegitimate and anti-union conduct established the Labor judge of Bologna. The magistrate has partially accepted an appeal by Filcams-Cgil against the designer’s company which in recent days has been at the center of controversy for its statements on female workers. The decision concerns letters sent on 23 and 25 November 2021 and 8 April 2022. On the other hand, the request to work overtime, without consent, within the limits of 250 hours per year is not anti-union for the judge.

“When you put a woman in an important position, if she is very important then you cannot afford not to see her for two years. As an entrepreneur, I have often focused on men. Today I put women on but they are ‘anta’, because if they had to get married or have children, they have already done so ”Franchi said in an interview. She later explained that she was misunderstood. Just today the entrepreneur had received a statement from the leader of the Brothers of Italy, Giorgia Meloni: “There is the theme of women’s work. We cannot also be scandalized by what Elisabetta Franchi says, but let’s face it: she says something that many think and that many do, and that we do not resolve by scandalizing ourselves. We solve it if we do not unload on entrepreneurs who are already in difficult conditions, very often, the ‘burden of motherhood. So, for example, the whole issue of contributions for the replacement of maternity leave: in my opinion, the State must pay them, it is a proposal that we have made ”. And he added: “Then there is the issue of parental leave, because children do not stop being children after a few months or after a few years. And also the pay for parental leave, we have proposed it at 80% up to 6 years, is a topic that then puts us in front of the choice “.

The entrepreneur, named Cavaliere del Lavoro, had declared after the controversy: “I acknowledge that I have expressed myself inappropriately but the facts speak for themselves: out of 300 employees in my company, 80% are women, the majority of whom are under 40 and women managers are twice as many as men. Basically I hired more women than men and for the most part young ”. The verdict in question will result in the cancellation of the sanctions against those workers who went on strike by refusing to work overtime requested by the company. In particular, the judge, Chiara Zompi, believes that there is no obligation, unlike what was requested by Filcams, to inform or consult with the union on the subject of overtime. Furthermore, it also emerges from the rules of the national collective agreement how the employer can, within the limits of 250 hours per year, request overtime work without this request being subject to the consent of the individual employee or to the need for further trade union agreements. In this part, therefore, the union’s appeal is rejected, indicating that no violation of law or contract has been made, also because the company has indicated the exceptional reasons for which recourse to overtime was necessary, connected to the work peaks linked to at the exit of the samples.

On the other hand, analyzing the disciplinary disputes against workers who refused to work overtime, the judge considers it necessary to distinguish between those that arrived before the proclamation of the strike, communicated on November 12, 2021, which appear legitimate. This is not the case, however, for the subsequent ones, at the end of November 2021 and April 2022. In this case, for the judge, “the repeated raising of disciplinary disputes against a group of female workers who had already expressed their willingness to join the state of agitation promoted by the applicant union “constitutes” in itself intimidating behavior and evidently aimed at discouraging employees from joining the overtime strike, legitimately proclaimed “. The conduct of Betty Blue “proves a systematic use of the disciplinary instrument for intimidating purposes, with effects that appear to last over time”. Therefore, in addition to declaring the conduct anti-union, you order to stop it, not to follow up on the disputes and to refrain for the future from using disciplinary power to limit the exercise of trade union freedom “.

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