Unions involved in the protracted dispute with Fiat concerning its future plans for the Pomigliano d’Arco plant near Naples have called for fresh dialogue with the company.

The long-running saga has seen both sides appear to adopt entrenched views concerning how to proceed with a potential shift of new Panda work from Fiat’s Polish plant to the Naples site.

Fiat is holding out for the adoption of new work practices in exchange for the transfer of Panda production to Italy, while the unions, particularly the FIOM labour organisation, maintains worker rights must be respected.

However, even the FIOM position appears to be mellowing, particularly now it says Fiat chief executive Sergio Marchionne has returned from a trip to Detroit.

“If Fiat calls for a dialogue, we are ready,” a FIOM spokesman in Italy told just-auto. “We know Marchionne has come back from the US, so now Fiat has to say something – the next move is supposed to be Fiat’s.

“Nobody knows when they will say something – if they call us we are close to the ‘phone.”

FIOM also indicated the Italian government was now ready to mediate between Fiat and its unions in Rome to kick-start negotiations, although it added the administration would “not be be the first” to call for such a meeting.

“We have always said the same thing about workers’ rights,” said the FIOM spokesman. “Investment is a good thing, but the mistake is to think we must choose between jobs and rights.”

“We are ready to have new relations with the company to solve the problems.”