A hardline Italian union is refusing to sign the deal put forward by Fiat for its Mirafiori plant and will strike later this month in protest at new working conditions contained in the agreement.

Fiat has been pressing a deal on its unions for some time that could see the automaker invest EUR1bn (US$1.31bn) in a joint venture with Chrysler, but has threatened to withdraw the cash should it not be satisfied.

Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne has secured agreement with the FIM-CISL, UILM, UGL and FISMIC unions, according to their fellow-labour colleagues FIOM, although the hard-line worker representative is stalling on adding its signature.

A vote is now due on 13 and 14 January next week among Fiat employees to ratify their unions' acceptance.

However, FIOM is to stage an eight-hour strike on 28 January at Fiat plants as well as at other Italian institutions, describing the deal as "an awful agreement."

"This agreement by Fiat is outside the national metalworkers agreement as if it was a house built in a desert," a FIOM spokesman in Italy told just-auto.

"All the other unions have signed, but Fiom has refused. We have called a strike but not only in Fiat - all of Italy on 28 January for eight hours. It is an awful agreement."

Precise details of the deal struck by Fiat are unclear, but Fiom has put forward a raft of objections which it claims are issues surrounding strike rights, a reduction in break times from 40min to 30min in a 7.5h shift and a change in sickness benefits.

However, a clear split appears to be emerging between FIOM and its more moderate colleagues other unions, such as the Federation of Italian Metalworkers (FIM).

A statement from FIM notes: "On 13 and 14 January, Fiat Mirafiori workers will have the possibilities with the referendum to give a final decision on the agreement signed on 23 December.

"We judged it appropriate to submit the agreement to the employees
- the extraordinary importance the union has agreed to the prospect
[for] the Mirafiori plant and for the future of thousands of workers"

FIM called on FIOM to "take into account the outcome of the referendum," and should it be affirmative, to sign up to the deal.

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