Fiat’s Future in Italy Could be at Stake Due to Disagreements with Unions

As previously reported, Fiat hasn’t been able to secure agreements with all Italian unions regarding a key productivity deal to help the automaker to keep its turnaround strategy on track. With a hard-line union planning a strike later this month, the country’s Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi claims Fiat will have a good reason to quit Italy if the deal falls through.

Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne agreed with Mr. Berlusconi saying that the future of the company in Italy could be at stake and he might be forced to move all production to lower-cost countries.

The dispute with the FIOM union, which represents workers employed at Fiat’s historic Mirafiori plant, concerns the introduction of more shifts and reduced benefits. The automaker supports that implementing these changes is crucial if the company is to make further investments and build new models in Italy.

Talking with reporters in Berlin after a meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Silvio Berlusconi commented: “We think that what has been happening in this case is absolutely positive, with the possibility of an accord between the unions and the company, in the direction of greater flexibility”.

“It's obvious that if this didn't happen, clearly the company and business people would have a good reason to move to other countries. Let us hope this has a positive outcome”, Berlusconi added.

By Csaba Daradics

Source: Reuters