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Union row: Alfa may quit Italy

2013-07-10 09:48

SERGIO MARCHIONNE: He says Fiat could pull Alfa Romeo production out of Italy if a labour union dispute is not settled. Image: AFP

Fiat could move production of future Alfa Romeo products out of their traditional home, Italy, if it can’t sign a clear agreement with Italian labour unions.

The Detroit News reports Alfa’s CEO, Sergio Marchionne, as saying: “The re-launch of Alfa Romeo will continue for sure. Italy should decide if it wants it to happen in this environment or not. Fiat and Chrysler have several alternatives.”

Fiat controls the Chrysler Group and wants to increase production of top models in Europe, among them the Maserati Quattroporte and Alfa Romeo sports cars, to reverse financial losses in the region by 2016.

NO DEAL, NO INVESTMENT

The DetNews reported, after a media conference in Turin, that Fiat’s European business lost nearly $1-billion in 2012. Had not Chrysler come under its corporate wing would have lost much more.

Marchionne was speaking at an Italian plant into which Fiat and Peugeot-Citroen want to invest more than 700-million Euros to assemble vans but Fiat has put all new Italian investment on hold, including new models at its main Mirafiori plant in Turin, until it “gets a clear framework on labour rules”.

Fiat, the DetNews reports, is in a legal dispute with the Fiom union over longer shifts and shorter breaks. The union, part of Italy’s biggest union, Cgil, says the new rules are anti-union and won't’t sign a contract.

Fiat is negotiating with the US’ United Auto Workers retiree health care trust to buy the rest of Chrysler but doesn’t expect to sign a deal before Fiat’s board meets on July 30 to review first-half results.

Fiat owns 58.5 percent of Auburn Hills-based Chrysler.
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