Italy's labor minister said that Fiat S.p.A. should fulfill its promise to boost Italian car production. This was in response to Fiat's announcement last Wednesday that production of some models, including the next Multipla minivan, will be moved to Serbia.
In fact, Fiat and trade unions have been asked to meet with the Italian government on July 28 after CEO Sergio Marchionne revealed a plan to transfer production of the Multipla and Fiat Idea to Serbia from its Mirafiori plant in Turin.
In an interview with the Il Messaggero daily last Sunday, Labor Minister Maurizio Sacconi said that Fiat will be asked to assure full production at its plats, including Mirafiori.
He also said that the issue had also affected the "the future of [Italy] with regard to its capacity to remain a manufacturing base." He said that what matters to the government right now is for Italian plants not to be damaged by Fiat's international dimension.
Mirafiori, Fiat's biggest plant in Italy, currently has about 5,800 workers. Fiat has recently committed to move production of its Panda minicar from Poland to its Naples plant as part of an 8 billion-euro ($10.30 billion) investment plan through 2011.
This Naples plant is presently operating at one-third of its capacity. Fiat also intends to invest 700 million euros in the area. The announcement of the Naples deal was issued at the end of negotiations with trade unions about new flexible working conditions expected to improve efficiency and competitiveness in the auto market. Fiat has yet to issue a response regarding this report.