Fiat S.p.A. received the support of all except one of the labor unions for a 1 billion-euro ($1.3 billion) plan to revamp its Mirafiori car plant in exchange for labor concessions. According to Vincenzo Aragona, a Fismic union official, it was only the Fiom-Cgil federation that failed to sign the agreement last Thursday in Turin for the factory. About 10,000 of Fiat's 83,000 workers in Italy are represented by Fiom. For its biggest Italian plant, Fiat aims to build up to 280,000 cars and sports-utility vehicles annually for the Jeep and Alfa Romeo brands as part of a joint venture with Chrysler Group. It’s expected that by the fourth quarter of 2012, new Jeep and Alfa models will be ready.
In a statement, Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne said that the company is prepared to launch the investment program “as rapidly as possible.” He said that the plant “symbolizes Fiat and is the custodian of Italy's auto history and manufacturing pride.”
With regards to Fiom denying support for Fiat’s plan, Marchionne said he would have wanted that all labor unions had opted to back the project. Of the six unions at the plant, five had agreed to add working shifts in exchange for wage hikes. Aragona refers to the agreement as “historical.” A workers' referendum is scheduled to take place next month for the deal. In the statement, Marchionne said that what Fiat needs to do now is to define a collective agreement specific to the joint venture that will allow workers to transfer to the new Fiat-Chrysler enterprise. [via autonews - sub. required]