Fiat Plant in Sicily Goes on Strike

Union protest against the possible closure

Workers at the Fiat plant of Termini Imerese in Sicily went on strike for an hour and a half May 11, fearing the closure of their plant should Fiat take over Opel, a union official said.

The strike was called by three unions, the Fiom-CGIL, Fim and Uilm, and half the morning shift responded as well as numerous employees of sub-contractors, Roberto Mastrosimone, local head of the Fiom-CGIL, said. The Termini Imerese plant, which employs 1,700 people in total, was resuming full production on May 11 after the Fiat workers had been laid off for two weeks.

Mastrosimone said they had been on part-time working for five of the last eight months, and they were protesting against the possible closure of their plant.

Fiat's plans remain unclear in the event of it taking over the European activities of General Motors, including Opel, raising strong concerns over job losses in Italy and Germany.

The head of Fiat, Sergio Marchionne, said he would it would favor reducing production in its factories instead of simply closing them, according to the current edition of The Economist weekly. But according to a document submitted to the German government by Fiat, the company could close sites in Germany, Italy, Britain and Austria if it took over Opel.

Italian unions, who are to meet their German colleagues in Frankfurt on May 13, are particularly worried over Termini Imerese and the Pomigliano plant, near Naples.

Delegates from Termini Imerese will join a national demonstration of Fiat workers on May 16, near the headquarters of the group in Turin.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2009.

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