“We won’t accept them anymore.” He mounts the protest: goodbye to meal vouchers?


“We won’t accept them anymore.”  He mounts the protest: goodbye to meal vouchers?
Written by aquitodovale

20% commissions on food stamps it is no longer a sustainable situation: this is the position of traders and restaurateurs, who threaten to no longer accept tickets.

On a war footing, the representatives of Conad, Coop, Fiepet Confesercenti, Federdistribuzione, Fida and Fipe Confcommercio are determined to go all the way. “After two years of pandemic, and the increase in the prices of raw materials and energy, commission levels are not acceptable on the level of the previous ones”, in fact, declares the president of Fipe Lino Enrico Stoppani. The strong stance, which calls for the reform of the meal vouchers system, comes just in the days preceding an important tender by the Public Administration. There are two main points of the changes requested by these associations: first of all the protection of nominal value of the securities (a voucher, for example, worth 8 euros must also be worth 8 euros for the merchant) and therefore the certainty of repayment times by the issuing companies.

To sign the joint document, on the sidelines of a press conference held at the headquarters of Fipe-Confcommercio, were Alessandro Beretta, general secretary Ancd Conad, Marco Pedroni, president of Coop Italia and Ancc Coop, Giancarlo Banchieri, president of Fiepet Confesercenti, Alberto Frausin, Federdistribuzione president, Donatella Prampolini, Fida president and Lino Enrico Stoppani, Fipe-Confcommercio president. All ready, therefore, to no longer accept tickets if the conditions connected to them are not reformed. Conditions that, to date, force supermarkets, grocery stores, bars and restaurants to accept a “discount” on Consip tenders which entails levels of commissions up to 20% on the nominal value of the meal vouchers (entirely borne by the network of affiliated establishments) to which the various management and financial charges are added: for every 10 thousand euros of tickets collected, in practice, the shops lose approximately 3 thousand euros.

This is why the protest is directed against the PA, which pockets a third of the entire market for food stamps. Before the Consip tenders, the operators explain, the commissions were between 7% and 10%. A larger slice than the EU average but considered more acceptable than what happens today. Without a step back, “It is reasonable to think that companies will no longer be in a position to accept meal vouchers. We cannot also take on the welfare of workers”.“We are facing blackmail also because payment times are never immediate”President Fida Donatella Prampolini blurted out, “and companies offer us payments maybe seven days only in exchange for further commission increases”.

The alarm of the consumer associations

“If shopkeepers and restaurateurs refuse to accept meal vouchers, an avalanche of complaints will be triggered throughout Italy on behalf of workers unjustly harmed, and a class action sponsored by the Codaconsthreatens the consumer association in a statement. “Meal vouchers represent an acquired right of workers and are an integral part of employment contracts”points out the president Carlo Rienzi.“Any limitation or impediment to their use constitutes unjust damage to those who benefit from them, and opens the way to compensatory actions against restaurateurs and distribution companies that will refuse to accept the tickets”he adds.

Complaints about the excessively high value of the commissions cannot burden citizens or harm the rights of workers, explains Rienzi, who announces retaliation.“Codacons is ready to take the field to protect 3 million employees who benefit from meal vouchers and, if the catering sector and large-scale retailers stop, it will present an avalanche of complaints throughout Italy and will initiate a formal class action to protect injured workers aimed at obtaining compensation for the pecuniary damage suffered “he concludes.

Assoutenti also announces a boycott campaign against the signatory commercial chains of the manifesto in the protest, ready to invite “Italians not to shop at the points of sale of the companies involved”. The problem of high commissions exists and must be countered, explains the president Furio Truzzi. This does not mean, however, that “the workers who take advantage of the tickets must be used as clubs to put pressure on the government”. Well, therefore, to convene a table to review the conditions of the meal vouchers, making them fairer for the parties involved, without Italian families paying for everyone. 3 million families “They also use tickets to shop at the supermarket, and a farewell to meal vouchers would represent an unfair increase in spending, moreover at a time when retail prices are skyrocketing”specifies the president of Assoutenti.

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