Italian Ministers have stepped into the row surrounding Fiat's decision to freeze its EUR500m (US$710m) investment into the Grugliasco plant in Turin.

Fiat said yesterday (23 March) talks concerning the investment had stalled due to intransigence by its FIOM union - a claim subsequently refuted by the labour body.

The Italian automaker is looking to secure a unanimous union productivity agreement along the lines of deals thrashed out at Fiat's Pomigliano d'Arco and Mirafiori plants, but the union insists it needs more time to evaluate the proposals.

However, the Italian government has now voiced its concerns highlighting what it perceives as the "direct confrontation" between the parties.

"The government is closely monitoring the situation and hopes that further discussion with the trade unions could lead to a unanimous agreement," said a statement from Labour Minister Maurizio Sacconi.

"The state of direct confrontation between the parties to determine the suitable conditions for investment in the Fiat plant in Grugliasco causes concern."

Despite Fiat's stance, FIOM seems determined to take its time evaluating the proposals for the former Bertone plant that could produce up to 50,000 vehicles per year.

"It seems everybody is still waiting," a FIOM spokesman in Italy told just-auto. "Unions are complex organisations, it is not so easy."