Fiat ‘s largest union is to meet with the Italian automaker tomorrow (4 June) in crunch talks to address flexible working practices in exchange for future model investment.
Fiat has already met its FIM , ULIM, FISMIC, UGL labour organisations but has now arranged further negotiations with FIOM to discuss the new working arrangements at its Giambattista Vico plant in Pomigliano d’Arco.
The plant is due to be the site of transferred Panda production from Fiat’s Polish factory, but manufacturer said unless fundamental changes were made, the future of the factory would be in peril.
“What we are asking for is the same flexibility of working we have in our Polish factory,” a Fiat spokesman told just-auto. “When a product is in demand we need to have the flexibility to have a shift on a Saturday [for example.]
“Any Saturday working has to be negotiated separately We can’t get embroiled in lengthy discussions when we want to increase production. It all hinges on working practices – these have not been changed since the 1980s.”
The spokesman added Fiat was looking to double Italian production but could only do so if “these prerequisites” were agreed. He said Pomigliano d’Arco produced 40,000 cars last year but this could increase to 300,000 units should a deal be reached.
“We are not about to embark on all this investment if we don’t have the same working conditions we have in Poland,” he said.
“This can’t go on indefinitely. This car [Panda] is due to be launched next year, so there is not much time.”
From its perspective, FIOM remains optimistic tomorrow’s Turin meeting will yield positive results.
“We hope to reach a goal to satisfy both parties – we want to bargain,” a FIOM spokesman told just-auto from Italy. “They [Fiat] say without an agreement they will not base production of the new Panda in Italy – we must work to reach an agreement.”
For Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne, the issue has become black and white. In uncompromising language, he insisted his proposals represented the “minimum level” at which Fiat could play more than a “marginal role” internationally.
“Time is running out”, he said last week. “The protracted negotiations with the unions have already resulted in a delay in the investment necessary to begin production. It is my hope a conclusion can be reached rapidly as it will soon be impossible to accept further delays.
“In the absence of an agreement that offers adequate guarantees, reassessment of the project and consideration of other alternatives for production of the future Panda may be unavoidable.”