As anticipated, the first paragraph of art. Amendment No 4 enshrines the recognition of the right to work for all citizens and the commitment of the Republic to promote the conditions for making it effective.
The inclusion of the provision among the fundamental principles is not accidental, just as the reference to the Republican not, rather than to the State, which as has been said underlines the involvement of the entire community (citizens and public authorities) in the pursuit of the indicated end.
The genesis of the norm, in particular of this first paragraph, was not, however, painless or free from perplexity. The Constituents wondered for a long time how to decline the recognition of the right to work and even on the advisability of inserting such a provision in the Constitution.
The fear was in fact to give constitutional cover to a right that the Republic, while committing itself to promote and recognize, would have difficulty in guaranteeing in a universal way.
A fear that emerges well from the words of Guido Cortes ,a member of the Third Subcommittee of the Constituent Assembly, who wondered if the right to work should be understood as the right to turn to the State to ask for an occupation: a perfect right of the individual, therefore, equipped with legal protection if it was injured.
.If, however, Cortese observed, "how will the Republic concretely guarantee to all citizens the satisfaction of this right that it has affirmed, of the right to work?". Because "... when it is said that the Republic recognizes everyone's right to work, the Republic assumes a commitment to give work to each citizen that the work claims, and claims it on the basis of a constitutional norm."
This reflection was joined by others.
In fact, it was observed that by understanding the right to work as the perfect right, the State would become the source of this right, while it is true that the right to work belongs to man independently of the State.
The task of the latter is instead to work for the common good promoting the conditions for making effective the rights of the individual, including precisely that at work.
Finally, it was added that, although it was commendable and desirable that the Republic would be able to guarantee a level of full and satisfactory employment for all, to do this the State would have to plan and direct the entire production chain, assigning to each one a job, no matter if not suited to his aspirations or actual abilities. "One should attempt, that is, an experiment in Bolshevization that would lead to dictatorship and exacerbate economic collapse." (Courteous).
3.1. The importance of the right to work as a basis for subsidiary rights
So what should we do? Exclude the affirmation of the right to work from the Constitution, given that the Italian Republic is based on private property ?
The Constituents were not of this opinion and explained the reasons in the report to the Third Subcommittee presented by the Honorable Antonio Pesenti.
The report states that the right to work in the Constitution, in addition to being a precise indication of economic policy and affirming a requirement of modern popular consciousness, would have important legal consequences.
This is because from the right to work "... and not from others, the principle of the right to paid rest and social protection can derive, understood not as a mutual insurance organization of a private nature — albeit with state recognition and control — but as a precise obligation of society to guarantee a minimum of life and social defense to those who, through no fault of their own or because of their disability, do not have the job to which they would be entitled. That is why even in our society it is good to affirm the right to work. If it, in its main form, is not immediately feasible ,it nevertheless forms the basis of subsidiary rights, substitutes, which can be immediately realized".
The right to work guaranteed in the Constitution is therefore not a perfect right but a project, an objective to aim for, which precisely by virtue of its place among the fundamental principles becomes a founding value and guiding principle of future legislation.
And even when it is not fully realized - both because the Republic is not able to ensure it to everyone, and because not all citizens are able to work - it becomes an instrument to promote the human personality and a basic prerequisite for the provision of other indispensable social rights, thus confirming the value that the Charter recognizes to the individual, even when he is not (or is no longer) able to carry out a productive activity.
3.2. Pietro Ichino: the three ways of understanding the right to work
On the exact scope of the right to work affirmed in the Constitution stands out, for authoritativeness and originality, the contribution of the great labor lawyer Pietro Ichino (Pietro Ichino THREE WAYS OF UNDERSTANDING THE "RIGHT TOWORK").
According to Ichino there are three ways of understanding the right to work: a bureaucratic way, a trade union way and the constitutional way.
The bureaucratic way is the one experimented in Italy from 1949 to 1997, when the placement was a state monopoly and the citizen, through the employment offices, matured the right to be sent to work on the basis of a ranking.
According to Ichino, the "constitutional way" is also the "most serious and most demanding way of understanding the constitutional principle of the right to work", since " there is no better way to guarantee everyone a job opportunity according to their abilities and their choice, than that of a well-functioning labor market, fluid and innervated with efficient services, in an open economic system."
Ichino therefore also confirms the impossibility of