The Firm

The Firm has extensive experience in employment law, industrial relations and related litigation, as well as an in-depth knowledge of the legislative and regulatory system governing employment relationships.

The Team Zambelli & Partners is made up of professionals with proven in-court experience and an in-depth knowledge of the complex and articulated Italian legislation, also in the context of European Union law.

As a consultant of industrial, financial and commercial companies and corporate groups, the Firm offers ongoing assistance to clients in matters relating to Employment Law, Trade Union Law and Industrial Relations, providing its clients with strategic advice, assisting them in the day-to-day management and solving of any labour disputes.

The Team has successfully addressed many legal disputes relating to all labour law issues and has managed numerous reorganisations of companies in the engineering and steel, chemical and pharmaceutical, petrochemical and publishing sectors, as well as finance and credit.

The Firm also assists top managers in the stages of contractualisation and termination of employment, including any resulting litigation.

Main operations


Assistance to a British banking institution in the negotiation process for the restructuring of the Italian branch.
The articulate plan, agreed with four different trade unions and through two separate collective agreements (middle-line managers and white collar employees, executives), provided for the staggering of redundancies in various and consecutive “waves” over a three-year period, according to the organisational and production needs of the Bank. This was accompanied by a redundancy incentive plan and recourse, where possible, to the “Solidarity Fund” of the credit sector. Great satisfaction by the Italian and London management for a result achieved in less than two months.

Assistance to an Italian bank in the interlocutory injunction proceeding brought against it by a competing Banking Institution.
The Banking Institution had sued the Client Bank for unfair competition following the movement of some employees and some customers. The judges, both in the interlocutory injunction proceeding and in the subsequent appeal, rejected the appeal of the Banking Institution, excluding the existence of unfair competition, with regard to both the enticement of employees and the diversion of customers from one bank to another.

Assistance to a foreign bank in restructuring 20% of its workforce in Italy.
The fast and effective operation was the first restructuring carried out in Italy by the Bank. The agreement was reached thanks to a series of intensive meetings with the RSAs, assisted by five of the largest local trade unions, aimed at ascertaining the causes of the redundancies to mitigate the social consequences of it.
The Firm has successfully represented the client in several disputes against former financial advisors for breach of non-competition agreements entered with the bank. All disputes ended with the former employees losing their cases or, alternatively, with the signing of a settlement agreement, which included the payment of significant amounts to the bank as a penalty.

Assisted a French investment bank in a dispute concerning a former employee.
The former employee sued the Bank seeking payment of damages of USD 2 million for the alleged breach of the Bank’s obligation to rehire him after the termination of the employment with the Swiss parent company. The case ended with the dismissal of the appeal.


Advising a leading publishing group on restructuring processes involving the use of social safety nets and the reduction of both journalistic and editorial staff.

Advised a publishing group on labour law issues.
Assisted one of the main publishing groups in the implementation of the restructuring process with the intervention of the Cassa Integrazione Guadagni Straordinaria (CIGS – Extraordinary Furlough) and in the lawsuits brought before the labour courts by some journalists to obtain compensation for damages of various kinds.

Assisted a leading American publishing company in an agency dispute.
The former agent sought payment of compensation for termination of the agency contract and compensation for lack of notice, as well as reputational damage totalling approximately $500,000. The Italian court dismissed the action for lack of jurisdiction.


Assistance to companies of a French group leader in the energy sector, in the reorganization process started in Italy.
The company, with operational offices located in different provinces, was supported in the implementation of the downsizing process of its production units. The union agreement reached provided for an important incentive scheme, aimed at counterbalancing the redundancy plan reported by the company.

Assistance to a French multinational operating in the energy sector in the restructuring process.
At the end of complex negotiations, a trade union agreement was signed for the use of the Extraordinary Furlough for partial cessation of business, for a period of two years, which involved 80 out of 250 employees. The process was accompanied by an articulated plan to support the CIGS intervention, which envisaged the use of collective redundancies and incentive tools as well as external relocation in support of the social shock absorber.

Advising a national operator in the gas distribution sector in the complex restructuring operation of the group.
In the broader context of the merger by incorporation into the parent company of several subsidiaries, aimed at creating a single legal entity with over 2000 employees, it was necessary to anticipate the organisational adjustment of the staff functions with respect to the completion of the corporate transaction. To achieve this objective, personnel were seconded between group companies.
The same client was successfully assisted in the dispute brought by 37 former employees who had been transferred to a different operator, claiming the application of a special provision of the Environmental Code which provides for the termination of all employment relationships and the direct and immediate transfer to the new operator. The claimants’ argument was rejected, and the company’s decision to apply the rules set out in Article 2112 of the Italian Civil Code to the case was declared legitimate.

Assisted one of the main Italian players in the energy market in the multi-million litigation brought by a former top manager, who also held the position of Managing Director of a subsidiary of the Group and challenged the dismissal for just cause served by the company.

Assisted an LPG distribution company in managing labour law issues related to the merger by incorporation of another national operator in the sector. In particular, a harmonisation agreement was entered into under which the NCBA applied to the employment relationship of the employees of the merged company was changed and the collective transfer of 23 employees was arranged. In addition, assistance was provided in the negotiation of the ‘new’ collective agreement at company level.

The Team assisted another leading operator in the alternative fuel systems sector in the structuring of the Group, which involved about 80 employees out of a total of 400. The downsizing operation, aimed at simplifying the Group’s structure and revising the production footprint, involved two subsidiaries at the same time and was completed with the signing of the union agreement at regional level.


Assistance to the world’s leading brand in the production and distribution of smartphones.
In the process of reducing the Italian workforce as a result of the project to reorganise the entire Group in Europe, despite the fact that, before the Italian Ministry of Labour and Social Politics, the national and regional trade unions involved in the collective redundancy procedure surprisingly decided not to sign the agreement endorsed by the vast majority of the employees, 80% of them subsequently confirmed their position and adhered on an individual and voluntary basis to the incentive proposal formulated by the Company, which was able to proceed unilaterally and without union agreement.
The Firm also successfully assisted the client in the multi-million-dollar lawsuit brought by the former Country Head, who had challenged the dismissal and claimed additional compensation as well as significant further damages.

Assisting an international electronics industry Group.
The Firm led negotiations for the execution of a voluntary redundancy agreement of the former Executive Vice President and CEO of the holding company.

Luxury & Fashion

Assistance to an Italian luxury brand operating in the haute couture menswear sector.
The implementation of an articulated reorganisation plan due to the company’s crisis situation led to the closure of the warehouse, whose activity was outsourced to an external provider, as well as the reduction of the staff assigned to other offices.

Assistance to a historic Made in Italy lingerie brand in a complex trade union dispute for the management of labour relations in the context of the transfer of a business unit.
The operation initially involved a difficult and complex agreement reached with the trade unions present at the table for the sale of the business unit to a well-known brand operating in the same sector. It necessitated the transfer of approximately 500 of the 850 employees and the maintenance of the production site and, at the same time, the request for the company to be admitted to a composition with creditors. Pending authorisation by the Court, other bidders expressed their interest in purchasing the business at better conditions. At the end of the competitive selection procedure, a different company ended up winning the bid, and the subsequent flash negotiations with the trade unions and the RSU increased the number of employees transferred to 700.

Assisted a historic luxury brand in the footwear sector in the restructuring process.
The restructuring plan envisaged the cessation and outsourcing of production and the transfer of sites of style, marketing and sales services. In the trade union agreement, reached in front of the Italian Ministry of Labour, it was agreed to use the Extraordinary Furlough (for partial cessation of business) for 12 months in favour of approximately 100 employees and a detailed system of incentives for employees to support the redundancy fund.

Assistance to a prestigious fashion company in managing the exit of its Managing Director.
The negotiation process to reach a settlement agreement lasted 7 months, as complex cross-border legal and tax issues were addressed between the two EU countries involved in the transaction.

Assisting a prestigious fashion house in restructuring the Group.
The complex operation first of all involved a reduction in the workforce (200 redundancies out of the 550 employees in force), the recourse to CIGS for the reorganisation of two sites, the closure of the plant with the intervention of CIGS for cessation of production, collective transfers from these sites and, finally, the outsourcing of the Group’s entire logistics. The Firm also assisted the client in the termination of the relationship with the CEO, in the drafting of the service agreement to regulate the contractual conditions relating to the new CEO, in the definition of the out-of-court agreement for the termination of the relationship with the CFO and in the dispute relating to the termination of the relationship with the COO.

Assistance to a landmark high-end textile brand.
Following the acquisition by a Spanish investment fund, the Firm assisted the company in a complex reorganisation process in which the framework agreement reached with the trade unions provided for the reduction of approximately 50% of the workforce, through the use of the Cassa Integrazione Guadagni Straordinaria (CIGS – Extraordinary Furlough) and a subsequent mobility process aimed at reducing the social impact of the industrial plan. The trade union roundtable led to a result welcomed by the parties, in addition to the swiftness with which it was achieved.
The client was also successfully assisted in the collective dispute brought to claim the unlawfulness of the termination of the company’s collective agreements and the reinstatement of the remuneration elements regulated therein, with the consequent recognition of remuneration differences.

Assisted a well-known Italian clothing company in the trade union procedure for collective redundancies necessary to relaunch the brand.
The trade union agreement reached with the trade unions concerned the reduction of approximately 25% of the office workforce through a detailed redundancy management and incentive plan. The procedure was a benchmark for rapidity and cooperation between the social parties, who signed the trade union agreement in just over two weeks. The following day, the workers’ meeting unanimously approved the agreement and, at the same time, the Court approved the debt restructuring and capital strengthening agreement that made the company safe.

Assistance in the reorganisation process adopted by a major group that owns well-known ready-to-wear clothing brands.
The Firm’s support allowed the group to reach a trade union agreement at ministerial level, which provided for the intervention of the CIGS through a double track: both for the reorganisation and the partial cessation of production activities, and for the management of redundancies at operational sites and some shops.

Assistance to a historic clothing brand in relation to the cessation and outsourcing of logistics activities.
With the support of the Firm, the company implemented the logistics outsourcing plan, accompanied by the closure of a production unit and the closure or downsizing of some departments and offices of the main plant. The framework agreement reached with the trade unions, subsequently approved by the workers’ meeting, provided for the use of the Extraordinary Furlough (for partial cessation of activity) for 12 months, renewable for another 12, involving 40% of the employees, the immediate opening of a collective redundancy procedure in support and an articulated redundancy management system.

Support of a high-end brand operating in the luxury furnishings industry.
The trade union agreement signed with the national secretariats of the CGIL, CISL and UIL provided, among other instruments, for the intervention of the Cassa Integrazione Straordinaria (Extraordinary Furlough), an assisted route for employees made collectively redundant, retraining projects and the use of dynamic outplacement. This was all delivered within the framework of a more general process of strategic repositioning of the brand and redefinition of its network of sales points and outlets.

Assistance in litigation proceeding by a company under Russian law against a manufacturer of clothing marketed with a well-known brand for the recognition of an agency relationship between the parties and the payment of the related termination indemnities.

Assistance to a well-known textile brand of French origin, operating in the luxury household linen sector, in the implementation of the restructuring of the retail channel. The plan, which was finalized with a trade union agreement signed in front of the Italian Ministry of Labour, allowed for the adoption of measures aimed at reducing the social impact of the closure of more than 50% of the boutiques throughout Italy, such as the use of the Extraordinary Furlough for partial cessation of business, supported by training and/or professional requalification measures and a redundancy incentive scheme.

Production & Distribution

Assistance to a medical equipment manufacturing company belonging to the dental division of a well-known German group.
In the context of the divestment of the Italian headquarters, the trade union roundtable with the FIOM-CGIL and FIM-CISL as counterparts led to a result welcomed by the parties. This was also considering the very short period of time in which the matter was completed, and the great attention it received by the local authorities and press.

Assisted a well-known brand in the internal and external pipe coating sector, in the dispute brought by the former President and Managing Director.
The plaintiff claimed the existence of an employment relationship of a subordinate nature and the consequent condemnation of the company to pay the sum of almost €4 million for various types of salary differences as well as indemnities relating to the termination of the relationship. The territorial judges of both levels rejected the claims in their entirety, also sentencing the former Managing Director to pay the legal costs.

Assistance to a leading global brand in the production and distribution of personal care products.
The plaintiff, the former Country Head of an Italian subsidiary, claimed the subordinate nature of the employment relationship and requested compensation of almost Euro 2 million for unjustified dismissal. The numerous and articulate claims were rejected in their entirety and the former manager was also ordered to pay legal costs at first instance and on appeal.

Assisted a Group specialised in the production of graphite products.
The closure of the Italian plant was part of a pan-European project to rationalise the Group’s 18 production sites on the continent. The agreement reached with the trade unions, after more than three weeks of all-out strike, provided for a reasonable compensation for the employees, but without the use of social safety nets that could have delayed the closure of the company’s Italian operations.

Assisted a Group operating in the thermo-mechanical sector in the restructuring process.
The operation involved more than 350 employees divided into three different companies and consisted in the collective dismissal of 50% of the Holding’s employees as well as the closure of the plant and the CIGS (Extraordinary Furlough) of more than 100 employees with the transfer of more than 200 employees to another company: The trade union agreement reached with the Firm’s support led to a reduction of approximately 15% of labour costs.

Assistance to an American Group in the restructuring of a historic Italian company.
The Italian company, acquired on the verge of bankruptcy, was involved in a complex restructuring involving around 200 of the 500 employees. After intense negotiations lasting more than three months, the new property obtained the trade unions’ green light for the operation, which envisaged the gradual closure of production at one site, the transfer of part of the staff to another site, and the use of the CIGS for two years. In addition to the Region, the Municipality and the Italian Ministry of Labour were also involved in this project.

Assisted a leading machine tool trading company in restructuring process.
The restructuring plan provided for the dismissal of 60 out of 250 employees due to the partial cessation of production activities and the outsourcing of some services to external operators. The union agreement, reached with the assistance of the Firm before the Italian Ministry of Labour, provided for the use of the Extraordinary Furlough (for partial cessation of activity) for 12 months, renewable for further 12, as well as an incentive plan to support the redundant workers.

Supported an Italian Group leader in the production of scooters, motorbikes and mopeds in the complicated situation following the bankruptcy of a major supplier.
The bankruptcy of the supplier endangered the company’s production, which was forced to apply for CIGO (Ordinary Furlough) for approximately 1500 employees. The supplier was allowed to operate temporarily, and, at the same time, the client hired directly around 100 employees to ensure the production of the materials needed by all the companies of the Group.

Assisted a leading cosmetics company in planning and implementing a reorganisation of its agent network.
As part of a plan to rationalise the agent network, the Firm assisted the client in redefining and redistributing the areas assigned to approximately 20 agents. The transaction was concluded out of court with the signing of settlement agreements by all the agents involved, which regarded in some cases the termination of relationships and in other cases the redefinition of existing contracts.
For the same client, the Firm provides assistance in all matters relating to agency contracts, both out-of-court and in litigation.

Assistance in the reorganisation of a leading biotechnology company.
The Firm supported the company in the definition and implementation of a complex reorganisation, in the context of which laboratory research activities were eliminated. Settlement agreements were reached with all personnel made redundant as a result of the suppression.

Assisted a company manufacturing gardening machinery in the proceeding brought by several former employees hired on a temporary basis for the establishment of a permanent employment relationship and the payment of statutory benefits.

Assistance to pharmaceutical group.
The Firm conducted the complex negotiations that led to the signing of a voluntary redundancy agreement of two top managers, who were entrusted with the role of – respectively – Managing Directot and CFO of the Group’s Italian subsidiary.

Assistance in the definition and implementation of the reorganisation of an engineering company.
The Firm supported the company in its reorganisation plan, under which social safety nets for more than 200 employees were used and the transfer of more than 100 employees was planned. A trade union agreement was also signed for the termination of the employment relationship of employees who adhere to it, in derogation of the so-called “freeze” on redundancies in force until 30 June 2021.

Assisting a leading company in the production of electrical panels in the reorganisation process that included the rationalisation of production and the transformation of the business model focused on Project Management. The Firm advised the company in the management of the industrial relations that led to the signing of a framework agreement with the trade unions, under which the parties agreed on a plan that contemplated various tools and actions aimed at reorganizing the company. In fact, it has been provided a CIGS (Extraordinary Furlough) for the entire production site of about 160 employees, which is temporarily accompanied by a redundancy incentive agreement pursuant to art. 11, Legislative Decree 146/2021, introduced by the emergency legislation. This will be followed by collective redundancy involving 25% of the production site population.


Assistance to a leading US multinational in the field of marketing solutions and information for the pharmaceutical and health care industry.
The reorganisation project involved two companies that joined the group following an acquisition. The reduction plan, which was part of a broader integration process, provided for the centralisation of management activities at a centre of excellence for production in Spain and the closure of non-core activities. These activities were entrusted to external providers in order to implement the same organisational model as that of the American multinational in the two new entities.

Assistance following the establishment of a branch in Italy.
The Firm assisted the company in relation to all labour issues, including the preparation of standard employment contracts, the revision of Group policies and the preparation of directorship agreements with members of the Board of Directors.

The Firm managed the negotiations that led to the signing of an agreement for the termination of a Managing Director at a company operating in the telecommunications sector, who was also a Director of a foreign subsidiary.


Assisted a leading telecommunications company to reorganise the Group in Italy.
The reorganisation plan was part of a multi-year project involving more than 20 countries and over 200 Italian employees out of 1,400 and included the integration of two subsidiaries for rationalisation purposes. To this end, the extraordinary intervention of the redundancy fund for reorganisation as governed by the Jobs Act was requested to reduce the social impact of the announced redundancies, which was successfully accepted by the Italian Ministry of Labour. Subsequently, the Firm assisted the client in a new reorganisation plan impacting approximately 100 additional employees, which was necessary to further rationalise the structure at Group level, as done in other countries.

Assisting a leading telecommunications and technology infrastructure operator.
The Firm assisted the company in disputes brought by hundreds of employees for the payment of a performance bonus under a company-level collective agreement terminated by the company before its natural expiry date. All disputes ended with the employees losing their case or, alternatively, with the execution of a settlement agreement.

Top Manager

Assisted the former Managing Director of a British telecommunications group in the dispute following the dismissal served by the Italian subsidiary for disciplinary reasons.
The first instance of this dispute ended with the company being ordered to pay a sum of €1.8 million in favour of the top manager, on the grounds that there was no just cause for termination and that the dismissal was unjustified, as well as for the damage to image and reputation suffered. During the appeal proceeding, the parties reached a settlement agreement.

The Firm has assisted numerous top managers of companies operating in various sectors in negotiations leading to the execution of agreements for the voluntary redundancy of executives.


Assistance to a leading foreign airline company in the planning and implementation of the complete restructuring of its activities in Italy.
The operation consisted of the complete dismantling of the commercial activities of ticketing and B2B sales as well as the reorganisation of airport activities. The employees involved were 90% of the workforce employed in Italy, with a 100% participation rate in the incentive plan.

Assistance to an Italian airline company in negotiations with trade unions and in labour law issues arising from the restructuring.
The assistance concerned not only the management of redundancies but also the complex issue of the joint collective agreement for employees (pilots, flight attendants and ground staff) and the collective agreement for captains. The company succeeded in unifying in a single collective agreement the regulating of the employment of more than 14,000 employees of two different companies, previously governed by three different collective agreements. The position of Captain was also introduced, an absolute novelty in the European air navigation sector.
The agreements, drawn up and finalised with the trade unions by Angelo Zambelli, enabled the company to select the 10,000 employees then hired out of the 20,000 employed by the previous airline company.

Assisted a major Italian public transport company with over 8,000 employees and more than 10 trade union organisations.
The claimants claimed the right to reinstatement in the company after transfer to the new employer, which succeeded the company following the award of a tender relating to provincial public transport.

Assistance in the planned acquisition of companies operating in the air transport sector.
The firm supported the acquirer in all labour law matters related to the planned acquisition of companies subject to the extraordinary administration procedure.