Fiat Production in Italy Grinds to a Halt Over Transportation Strike

Truck drivers walked out repeatedly in January and February and Fiat's factories ground to a halt on January 24 as a result of nationwide strike action launched by drivers against a new government tax that has increased fuel prices.

All five of Fiat's car factories in Italy were closed on March 16 and were likely to remain so over the weekend due to a lorry driver strike which threatens heavy losses, a company spokesman said.

The factories in Pomigliano, Cassino, Sevel, Mirafiori and Mefli were all closed and would open March 19 at the earliest, the spokesman said.

An earlier Fiat statement regretted that "a strike by vehicle transporters in Italy has been causing significant difficulties for the entire automobile industry, and for Fiat Group Automobiles in particular."

It said the situation was "particularly damaging for Fiat Group Automobiles because it has made it necessary to significantly reduce, or even stop production at certain plants, with a considerable impact on sales and share performance in both Italy and abroad."

Lorry drivers walked out repeatedly in January and February and Fiat's factories ground to a halt on January 24 as a result of nationwide strike action launched by drivers against a new government tax that has increased fuel prices.

On March 13 the Trasportounito-FIAP union behind the strike noted that the buyer of a small Fiat 500 in southern Italy "must pay 530 euros ($695) in transport costs" while the company shipping the car from near Rome to the dealership is only paid 17 euros for the 270 kilometers (170 miles) ride.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2012

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