An Italian union is claiming a meeting today (21 December) between Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne and senior management could shed further light as to any contract details for the Mirafiori plant.

The Fiom labour organisation has remained apart from contract talks, while fellow-unions Fil and Uilm held negotiations with Italian metal industries organisation Federmeccanica in Rome yesterday to discuss the issue.

"Maybe Marchionne will use this meeting to tell something concerning the future of the plant at Mirafiori," a Fiom spokesman in Rome told just-auto.

"Yesterday, there was a meeting in Rome between Federmeccanica and the other unions within the frame [work] of the last metal industry agreement which was not signed by our organisation - we are still opposed to that."

Speculation has been building in Italy that Marchionne wants a deal for Mirafiori by the end of this week - and before Christmas - as Fiat looks to plough EUR1bn (US$1.32bn) into the plan in return for productivity improvements.

Should Fiat be satisfied, it is looking to bring a new platform from the US to Italy in a joint venture with Chrysler, to produce large segment passenger cars and SUVs for the Jeep and Alfa Romeo brands. The new platform could result in 250,000-280,000 models being produced per year, with the potential for new jobs.

However, Fiom claims Fiat wants to have several different agreements following its success in outlining new working arrangements at its Pomigliano d'Arco plant near Naples this year.

"Fiat's intent is to have several plant agreements, one for Pomigliano [for example] and [one] for Mirafiori which has not been reached yet," said the Fiom spokesman. This is very difficult because the other unions - it seems they are not so much in favour."

The Fiom spokesman added he had no new date for any new bargaining session with Fiat. "We must wait for this meeting between Marchionne and senior management," he said.

However, an indication of a potential timetable by Fiat came in the guise of comments made by the more moderate Uil union, whose secretary general Luigi Angeletti was quoted as saying: "We are not against a separate contract for the car sector. But drafting takes time and we need to reach a deal on Mirafiori by the end of the week."

Fiat was not immediately available for comment.

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