Fiat union FIOM says it is collating figures for today's (12 December) walkout that saw a general strike sweep Italy in protest at government austerity measures, with the automaker confirming 37,000 workers downed tools.

The hardline FIOM says it called for an eight-hour stoppage - the equivalent to one shift - in conjunction with Italy's three union confederations - CGIL, CISL and UIL - while public sector and transport workers are due to walk out this Friday.

"We will have a picture later in the evening or maybe tomorrow," a FIOM spokesman told just-auto from Italy. "The goal is to say to the government the workers' unions do not agree with the economic measure.

"The purpose of the strike... is to ask the government to change please that point of [its] strategy. This general strike called by the three main confederations is the first united general strike which took place in Italy [for] maybe five or six years."

The FIOM spokesman added tomorrow could see Fiat and three other unions ink a new labour agreement, although it will not participate.

Fiat told just-auto from Turin it estimated 13% of 37,000 of its workers were on strike today.