From Fri Nov 17 10:21:37 2000
Date: Thu, 16 Nov 2000 22:57:08 -0600 (CST)
From: “Child Labur News Service” <>
Subject: Child Labour News Service Release—15 November 2000
Organization: Child Labour News Service
Article: 109291
To: undisclosed-recipients:;

More than 400,000 children illegally employed in Italy

Agence France-Presse, Child Labour News Service, 15 November 2000

Rome: More than 400,000 children between the ages of 11 and 14 work in coffee shops and construction sites among other places in Italy despite laws stating they should be in school, a trade union report revealed.

The report based on a two-year survey showed that 47% of the children are employed by coffee shops or restaurants, 15% by gas stations or as car park staff and 17% as hawkers, according to the CGIL federation report which is to be officially published soon.

Another 10% were said to work as unskilled workers, masons, plumbers or electricians on construction sites.

“It is easy to see children work in Brazil, Nepal or in the Philippines and it is still easier to see them in India and Bangladesh,” the daily newspaper La Republica commented on the report.

“But it is not hard either to find them close to us.”

Child labour is rampant in economically depressed southern Italy but many children are also found working in the more affluent northeast of the country.

In the south, children work in companies, which seek cheap labour, said Luigi Agostini of the CGIL's social department. But in the north they mainly help out in family businesses.

Education is compulsory in Italy until the age of 15, but 42% of those working before that age have dropped out of school, while the rest is trying to attend classes in spite of a busy work schedule.

The report said the latter was notably the case with Asian immigrants who help their parents after school.

More than a half of the children also work more than eight hours a day but forego any of the benefits enjoyed by regular workers, such as fixed work hours or paid vacations.

Their status also makes them prone to accidents, with 13% of cases reported. But employers have also sought to cover up a stunning 61% of accidents, according to the report.

Four out of 10 children make less than 200,000 lire ($89) a month and only 4% gain more than one million lire.

The figures drew a bitter reaction by the head of the CGIL Institute for Social Research, Agostino Megale, who rapped Italian legislators for failing to vote a law, sitting in parliament, that would impose product labels guaranteeing that no child labour was involved in the manufacture.