Fiat Chrysler in talks with unions to resume production in Italy

by SpeedLux
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles FCA

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) and unions are talking about the plans for beefed-up health measures at Italian plants to make the way for most profitable production to resume as soon as the government eases a nationwide lockdown, unions stated on Wednesday.

An extension of a national lockdown set to expire on April 13 cannot be ruled out, but the latest coronavirus data allowed growing confidence that the effect of the virus was declining in Italy.

Measures proposed by the automaker’s unions include rearranging assembly layouts, staggering shifts, and marking floors to make sure a one-meter distance is kept between workers, FIM representative Raffaele Apetino said, adding this would inevitably result in decreased production rates.

Other requests consists of testing workers’ temperatures, providing safety devices including face masks, and sanitizing premises during work hours, Apetino added.

Unions also proposed moving meals to the end of shifts, permitting workers to chose to avoid canteens, take away their food and leave half an hour previously without losing pay.

“FCA has showed great willingness to accept our proposals,” Apetino stated, adding unions would hold a call with company representatives on Thursday to plan an agreement.

“Our aim is to sign it by the end of this week,” he stated. “We want be ready to resume most profitable production just after Easter, if the government allows it.”

UILM union representative Gianluca Ficco stated similar requests have been made to Ferrari, CNH Industrial and Marelli as well. “The lockdown can’t go on forever, Italy must give itself a target to match jobs and security,” he added.

FCA last month introduced a first package of effective measures in its Italian plants, but ultimately had to close them after Rome in mid-March decided to put a stop on all manufacturing activities deemed non essential.

The automaker has informed unions it aimed to resume operations at three sites in Italy as soon as the government lifts its toughest coronavirus restrictions.

These would be the assembly lines for Jeep’s Compass and new hybrid models at Melfi located in southern Italy; Atessa’s plant making light commercial vehicles located in central Italy; and preparatory work for the new electric 500 in Turin’s Mirafiori factory.

That would initially involve less than 10,000 employees out of 55,000 in Italy.

The automaker did not comment on the ways being prepared but a spokesman stated “As always workers’ health and security were the top priority for the company.”

About 143,626 people in Italy have been confirmed as being infected with the coronavirus. The virus has killed 18,279 people in the country.

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