Fiat's hardline union FIOM has two significant issues on its plate this week as it convenes its annual meeting in Cervia.

Rarely out of the headlines, the labour body has had its usual share of run-ins recently with its traditional and implacable foe in the guise of the Italian automaker, while it has also had to contend with some trenchant criticism from other, more moderate unions.

Fiat's outspoken CEO Sergio Marchionne, has had plenty to say on the future of the company and how he sees the unions fitting into the organisation with, as he would see it, updated working practices and a realistic approach to industrial relations.

The Fiat boss has even wielded a pretty large carrot of threatening to take away future investment in Italy should its unions - and let's be frank he's probably aiming four square at FIOM - not comply or at least meet him in compromise concerning his investment plans.

Compromise isn't really a word FIOM appears to use much, preferring a more militant range of vocabulary, although to be fair, Fiat dishes out its own verbal broadsides on a regular basis too.

But as well as the ongoing issue of Mirafiori - whose workers voted - fairly narrowly it has to be said 54%-46% in favour of Marchionne's productivity proposals - FIOM has another pressing issue to tackle at its annual meeting.

Fiat has previously said it intends to close its Termini Imerese plant on Sicily, with FIOM saying it understands Italy's Ministry of Economic Development is due to discuss the matter today (2 February) in Rome.

"At this meeting the unions were not invited," a FIOM statement says pointedly, adding: "We fear this is another inconclusive meeting...followed by the government's ringing declarations on numerous proposals for re-industrialisation."

Perhaps the union is referring to reports in Italy last year the government and Sicilian authorities could put forward a EUR450m (US$621m) rescue package, but no further details were forthcoming concerning the plant which produces the Lancis Ypsilon.

And just to add to the mix, media speculation in Italy is citing the DR Group of dealers as having sent an expression of interest to the Ministry of Economic Development concerning Termini Imerese.

In a call to the DR Group in central Italy today by just-auto, the company was unable to verify if it had put forward a bid or how the network of dealers would indeed use the plant.

FIOM's assembly will doubtless have heard of the DR Group rumours that come on the same day as the Ministry meeting.

That coupled with its ongoing hostility to the Mirafiori proposals - together with some scathing remarks about its walkout last week from fellow-union FIM - should make for a lively few days in Cervia.