In 1977-78, the Italian Trade Unions, divided by history and ideology, seemed to re-cover a position of a unity of policies, which caused them to hope for a future unity of actions and maybe even a reunification. Moreover, it seemed that they were willing to re-cover this terrain of a reunification, together managing a research activity based on a concept of planning, by means of constituting a common study Centre of planning, on behalf of the “Joint Federation of Trade Unions” (Italian: Federazione Sindacale Unitaria) – later sadly neglected – in order to take Trade Unions from the rather traditional and obsolete traditional negotiation agendas (more and more insignificant in a post-industrial society) to new agendas, those of plans conducts or simply negotiation. For this, it would have been necessary levels of high capacity on the side of the State and its institutions, specialised in managing information and study based on which to carry out social negotiations; and equally high capacity on the side of the Trade Unions, those of managers or workers, in order to have the necessary competency and knowledge to support such negotiations.
Prof. Archibugi, collecting the writings in this booklet, who was actually, already as a young man, employed to assist the Italian Free Trade Unions in their study and education activities, was called to participate – so it seemed to him at least – in the new efforts, from which were born some writings here collected and entitled, The trade unions “Demand” for “Planning” relations (with the public authorities), to be put on the agenda of political and social negotiations.
This prospect of a renewal both of the traditional economic policy and of trade union actions stranded on the sandbanks of a suddenly arisen “economic compromise”, in which the Left (substantially represented by the Communist Party) and the Right (the political, economic establishment) put into practice a serial of agreements on insignificant and ungovernable objectives and criteria of macro-economic policies, which constituted the negation of a true and effective, negotiated programmatic approach.