The Organisational Structure

Structure and Organisation

Cisl is a trade union confederation with a double organisational structure at different territorial levels: "vertical" structures, Federations corresponding to the main sectors of industry, regrouping all workers employed in the same branch of industry (e.g., chemical industry, metalworkers, banking sector, transports, municipalities) and "horizontal" structures, which at territorial level bring together (confederate) all union Federations. Both structures are present at four different territorial levels (workplace, district, regional and national).

Workplace level

The work place is at the base of the whole organisational structure. Trade union presence in the workplace is ensured through workplace representatives or shop stewards (RSU - Rappresentanze sindacali unitarie) directly elected by workers on lists presented by any trade union organisation (but, of any hundred freely expressed, secret ballot votes, more than 80% go to Cgil, Cisl and Uil) according to rules and procedures agreed between unions and employers associations and, now, also covered by law.

These workers' representatives, or shop stewards, hold all union rights such as the management of time off for union activities, the right to call a workers' meeting or to post up notices, and are in charge of relations with employers.

They engage in company-level bargaining, with the help and support and within the framework defined in national sector collective bargaining by the corresponding national industrial unions, according to rules and procedures defined in the pertinent, collective industry-wide agreement.

Until an effective trade union unity is in place, Cisl will also promote its own Workplace Branches (SAS - Sezioni Aziendali Sindacali) to represent Cisl in all workplaces, and function as the first basic unit in which Cisl's members associate and make themselves clearly visible.

District level

This is a territorial union structure, roughly corresponding to a group of municipalities and covering all workers in a geographical zone, clearly defined by some administrative, industrial, economic or social common features. This territorial level is the basis on which the union's horizontal structure is built. Each district, as well as each Territorial Union (UST - Unione Sindacale Territoriale), groups all union organisations present in their own geographical area together. The district can be subdivided in Zonal and Municipal Unions, according to decentralisation criteria such as administrative and social homogeneity of a given area.

Regional level

The regional level groups together all districts situated in the same geographical region (Sicily, for instance, or Latium, Lombardy...). Each regional structure, Regional Union (USR - Unione Sindacale Regionale), groups together unions present in their region.

National level

This is the territorial level which groups together all regional organisations. The National Confederation groups together all the National Industrial Federations.


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