Unemployment in Brindisi: From Welfare to Workfare – Cantieri di Cittadinanza (Citizenship under Construction)

By Antonio Maria Pusceddu


The regional scheme CDC is designed for long-term unemployed people (at least 12 months), whose ISEE (Indicatore della Situazione Economica Equivalente), an index calculated on the basis of the previous year’s household income and patrimony, is under 3.000 Euros per year. Applicants are selected for “apprenticeship” in one of the projects presented by public institutions and private firms (from service to construction works), for which they would receive a reimbursement of 500 Euros (without further benefits). The apprenticeship lasts 6 months (from July to December), with 20 hours work per week. An initial possibility of a further 6 months extension vanished after the CdC program was absorbed by a new regional workfare program, Reddito di Dignità (Dignity Income).


According to the applications submitted through the union, a relevant number of applicants had been unemployed for much longer than one year. Many of them had been making a living in the “informal” economy (construction sector, agriculture, services). The prevalence among the applicants of people in their fifties –that is, people who often cannot make a living through the informal economy either—is also significant. The prevalence of making a living through the informal economy also accounts for the lower number of applications to the program Reddito minimo garantito (Guaranteed Minimum Income), designed for workers in redundancy payment scheme, who may be able to earn more through the informal economy (rounding up the redundancy package income) than by joining the program.
The area of Brindisi and San Vito dei Normanni (a nearby town) received 398 applications. Only 93 were accepted as valid, but the real recipients were only 36 (in accordance to the available funds). These 36 recipients were assigned to one of the four existing projects after an interview with the municipal social service. According to the responsible social service, due to a lack of proper communication, no private entities (firms, cooperatives etc.) applied as hosts of the CdC in Brindisi. As a result, all the projects were designed and presented by the municipal social services. The projects where the “apprenticeships” of the CdC will take place are: (1) Public administration (Archive digitalization), 7 recipients; (2) Urban green maintenance, 10 recipients; (3) Network of social inclusion (A.D.I. Coop. Genesi, Elder care assistance program), 6 recipients; (4) Preservation and fruition of environmental heritage, 12 recipients.