Fiat SpA has offered to reactivate a Sicilian car factory where 1,500 idled workers have been protesting, but unions leaders called the measure insufficient as the two sides met in government-sponsored talks over plans for 8,100 layoffs, Associated Press (AP) reported.
“We appreciate that step forward, but it’s not enough,” Giovanni Sgambatti, an official at UIL, one of Italy’s three largest labour unions, told AP.
AP said unions have rejected Fiat’s restructuring plan, which includes 8,100 job cuts mainly at the company’s loss-making car unit, and the government is encouraging both sides to work out the dispute at the negotiating table.
Indicating that the government hoped a settlement could be reached, Minister for Productive Activities Antonio Marzano told AP that the layoffs would be suspended until December 5, when talks were due to resume.
Cabinet undersecretary Gianni Letta, a close aide to Premier Silvio Berlusconi, told AP that the talks were “in the interest of the survival and the development of the automobile sector in Italy and in the interest of the workers involved.”
AP said the unions have scheduled a protest march for Rome on Tuesday, the latest in a string of protests around the nation.
AP added that Labour Minister Roberto Maroni has the authority to approve Fiat’s request to idle the 8,100 workers for up to a year. They would receive 80% of their salaries during that period.