Staff at Fiat's Termini Imerese plant in Sicily stopped work and blocked a road on Thursday in protest at reports the factory would close if the automaker merged with Chrysler and General Motors Europe to create the world's second-biggest carmaker.

Reuters noted that, while German unions have told their Italian counterparts the Fiat proposal involves downsizing its Pomigliano d'Arco plant near Naples and closing the Termini facility, which employs around 1,400, Fiat has not made its plans public.

A Fiat spokesman told the news agency around half the Termini Imerese workforce downed tools from 7am to 8.30am and about a third stopped work between 9.20 and 11.00 am. "A few dozen workers also blocked the road outside the plant, but it is now open," the spokesman said.

Workers are due to travel to Fiat's headquarters city of Turin on Saturday for a major demonstration against plant closures, the report added.

Italian union leaders have met with their German counterparts and said they would adopt a common position about the shutting of European plants.

"No plant must close," Enzo Masini of Italy's FIOM-CGIL union told Reuters after a meeting.