Fiat terms Maserati plant strike Absolutely Incomprehensible
Fiat Chrysler’s Maserati plant in Grugliasco, Italy has been in the news due to striking by FIOM (Federazione Impiegati Operai Metallurgici) union. The reasons for this strike have been numerous, ranging from holidays in August to various contract negotiations which were stalled.
Over 200 employees out of a total strength of 2,019 workers have been on strike, protesting against various deficiencies in working conditions. These strikes have lead to a series of heated discussions between management of Fiat Chrysler Group and Union, while the company has termed all actions by the union as ‘absolutely incomprehensible’. The Grugliasco factory was commissioned in January 2013 and produces the Maserati Quattroporte and Ghibli sport sedans.
Fiat Group in their defense claims that though the strike involved just 209 workers, the company lost production of 11 vehicles due to down time. The strike has taken place in one of the most modern auto assembly plants in the world, into which the company has invested around €1 billion to retool the plant catering to the production of these new and exclusive models.
The plant is fitted with state of the art technology and rolls out some of the most highly acclaimed luxury vehicle sold across the globe. Fiat also claims that they have saved the jobs of over 1000 Bertone workers and 1300 Mirafiori workers taking the total to 2300 while there are plans to add 500 more workers in September as production is increased.
“Less than 11% of workers at the Maserati plant in Grugliasco, 209 out of a total 2,019, adhered to the strike called by FIOM which resulted in lost production of 11 vehicles.
Although relatively low in percentage terms, the strike by more than 200 workers is absolutely incomprehensible. Today’s strike, which was only partially adhered to, took place at one of the most modern auto assembly plants in the world, which is equipped with cutting-edge technology and produces luxury vehicles that are successfully sold in markets around the world. Fiat has invested around €1 billion to retool the plant for production of these new models.
At a time when unemployment in Italy has reached unprecedented levels, striking at a plant where jobs are being created and more than 90% of the vehicles are produced for the export market is absolutely irrational.
Even more difficult to understand is the fact that the strike is at a plant which, when Fiat bought it, had been closed for several years with no prospect of a return to production.
Fiat not only saved the jobs of more than 1,000 ex-Bertone workers, it also created an additional 1,300 positions enabling workers from the Mirafiori plant to return to work and it expects to create a further 500 positions beginning in September.
Clearly, when demand for a new model is strong the opportunity needs to be seized upon. Industrial actions like today’s, although participation was low, could have serious negative consequences for both the Company and workers.”