Italy's biggest company Fiat said on Nov. 21 that all existing labor contracts in the country would be invalid from January 1, as the auto giant tries to negotiate more flexible deals despite union anger.
Fiat's move "is a consequence of leaving (the employers' federation) Confindustria," which has a collective agreement with Italian metalworkers that Fiat has been trying to move away from, a company spokesman said.
Fiat will now begin negotiations with the unions on a new type of contract by the end of the year, but no timetable has been fixed yet.
Fiat has already negotiated new contracts, which were approved in employee referendums, at plants in Pomigliano, Mirafiori and Grugliasco.
Those contracts include an increase in night working and overtime, and have been presented by Fiat as the only way it can improve competitiveness in its factories in Italy and ultimately continue to operate in the country.
The Fiom union has denounced Fiat's behavior as "blackmail."
Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2011