US: Chrysler CEO vows "never again" to go so close to demise
Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne says the US manufacturer has resolved "never again" to sail so close to demise, as it looks to take advantage of the current optimism surrounding the American auto industry.
Speaking at the Automotive News World Congress in Detroit, the Chrysler chief also insisted the recent four-year agreement with the US union UAW, would lay the foundation for stable industrial relations.
"History has taught us the old relationship would lead us on a path of irrelevance," he said. "Our negotiations with the UAW, they were difficult, but both sides realised they could not just repeat the mistakes of the past. Our industry is by definition, cyclical and we couldn't leave ourselves vulnerable. Our four-year remit with the UAW moves us towards this new path.
"Those who survive will never be as before - they will find the strength to stand and fight. We don't shy away from making difficult decisions, to resolve never again to get so close to demise."
Despite Marchionne's optimism surrounding the UAW deal, he also took the opportunity to fire a shot across hardline Italian union FIOM's bows to just-auto at the Congress, in his capacity as Fiat CEO.
Fiat recently inked a deal with labour bodies, FIM, UILM, FISMIC and UGL, as well as the Capi and Quadri white collar unions, but FIOM slammed the agreement as "worsening working conditions" for its members.
The Italian automaker offered a 5.2% pay rise, bonus and extra overtime working for its 86,000 employees in return for acceptance of the flexibility to work up to 120h more annually on Saturdays if market demands require more input, as well as thrice-daily break reductions of ten minutes.
"We have negotiated with the unions and FIOM refused to participate," Marchionne told just-auto in Detroit. "It is nonsense - 50% of the votes went in favour."