Nov 24, 2022
Prada Group CEO Lorenzo Bertelli says wages need to rise to avoid popular discontent
Nov 24, 2022
“The underlying problem for Italy’s manufacturing sector is that of salary levels, which are no longer adequate. Investment is needed in human resources, starting with factories and workers, in order to raise the basic wage. There are two options: either companies shoulder the rise in costs, or the state must intervene. If action is not taken, popular discontent will be rife,” said Patrizio Bertelli, at the helm of the Prada group with his wife Miuccia, interviewed by Italian daily paper La Repubblica. “Widespread unease can be felt within factories, people are unhappy, and there is no growth without positive energy, everything becomes harder,” he added.
Bertelli underlined that “workers’ salary levels are an issue that affects between 8 and 10 million people [in Italy], people who currently don’t know how to deal with rising petrol costs, utility bills and food prices. A specific strategy must be deployed by the government, regardless of the latter's colour, to put more money into workers’ pockets. It's the only way to spark renewed enthusiasm, enabling the economy to bounce back.”
According to Prada's boss, “Italy needs to move up a gear, just as inflation has moved up a gear, after nearly a decade of stable prices, with inflation virtually non-existent.” Bertelli said that Italy’s Minister of economy and finance, Giancarlo Giorgetti, “must take a very strong strategic decision in this direction. Many of Italy's companies are profitable, and [Italy] is the second-largest manufacturing country in Europe. The workforce is Italy's locomotive.”
Can fringe benefits and bonuses help? “Many firms, ours included, give year-end bonuses to their employees, but it's a scattershot approach. There needs to be a more structured intervention, not one that is left to the individual entrepreneur's initiative,” concluded Bertelli.