Fiat says unless unions at the Mirafiori plant in North Italy sign agreements within two months, it will move investment elsewhere.

The automaker is taking the hard stance following doubts expressed by the Fiom union concerning potential productivity requirements at the Mirafiori plant.

Fiat is looking to spend EUR1bn (US$1.32bn) at the plant in return for productivity improvements although Fiom has remained apart from negotiations held with fellow-unions Fil and Uilm in tandem with Italian metal industries organisation Federmeccanica in Rome.

Speculation has been circulating in Italy that any deal could be implemented by the end of this week, but a spokesman for Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne in Turin told just-auto there was now a timetable for February 2011.

"Marchionne has basically said he expects the agreements to be signed within the next two months, after which he will make investments elsewhere," said the spokesman.

"He reiterated the point the deal's on the table and he is expecting the unions to sign up to it. Why it has to go to the wire, I don't know [but] we can't wait any longer."

The Fiat spokesman reserved some scathing comments for Fiom, whom he maintained were acting as if they were a political organisation.

"It is Fiom - the usual suspects," he said. "They are being completely intransigent. Fiom is behaving more like a political party."

Fiom yesterday told just-auto it had no date for any new bargaining session with Fiat, but the Italian manufacturer is holding firm to its two month deadline.