Workers for Fiat S.p.A. voted on Friday on whether to accept fewer benefits and more shifts at the company's Mirafiori plant, in a labor deal deemed crucial to reviving the Italian carmaker's fortunes at home. If they accept the deal, Fiat will invest EUR1 billion ($1.3 billion) in the loss-making plant to build new, high-end Chrysler and Alfa Romeo models.
CEO Sergio Marchionne, who engineered Fiat's 25 percent stake in Chrysler, has said he will invest the cash abroad if workers reject the new contract.
He asked those opposing the changes to back down, saying there would be no second vote and reiterating that he had a "plan B" involving other Fiat plants worldwide.
The Fiat deal stands for a new approach to labor relations, breaking away from a tradition of national contracts.
A symbol of Italian industry, Mirafiori, which makes the Punto model, is Fiat's oldest plant. In an interview published in Belgian business daily De Tijd, Marchionne said that in the Miafiori plant in Turin, there is a minority with "a very big mouth" and it does not work like that in a modern factory. [via autonews - sub. required]