The astonishment generated by Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne's announcement that the Fabbrica Italia plan no longer exists is incredible.
All one needed to do was note the lack of plans for new models, employee layoffs, and the broken promise made a year and a half ago to invest 20 million euros in Italian plants to see this coming. That promise had been made in exchange for a drastic reduction in employee rights and liberties that was accepted by the unions, starting in Pomigliano, Mirafiori, Bertone and finally throughout the entire Fiat group. In my opinion, whoever signed and upheld those agreements in return for investments in Italy should be reflecting on their decision.
Therefore, Marchionne's announcement isn't news. The real question is: Who should have monitored those investments and the future of Italy's sole car manufacturer? The same people who didn't want to listen to labor union Fiom-Cgil ring the alarm bells are reeling in shock now. Unfortunately, the signs were all there, and those who didn't see them chose not to do it. Fiat tried to push Fiom and its members out because they didn't believe Marchionne, and because they opposed the plan to reduce the individual rights and liberties of workers as sanctioned by the national contract, the laws and the constitution of our country.
The Fabbrica Italia plan was a secret that Fiat always maintained it did not intend to discuss. Today, it seems it was a big lie; a way to buy time while the company reduced its presence in Italy, starting with the closure of the plants of Termini Imerese, Cnh in Imola and Irisbus in Avellino. But not just that, there has also been a drastic reduction of European market shares. There is a financial crisis, yes, but Fiat lost much more than other car manufacturers, who unlike Fiat, have still continued to invest and launch new models. First there was silence from the Berlusconi government, and then Monti consented too.
The government has to guarantee union rights and a democracy within the Fiat group, and demand a credible investment plan starting now. We need an extraordinary commitment on their part to prevent the loss of an entire national industrial sector. And I'm not talking about extending social security, but using skilled workers to make cars. They cannot continue to support a lack of innovation and research from Fiat while the shareholders portion out the dividends. It would also be beneficial to facilitate the entry of other car manufacturers in Italy. The Fiat monopoly has only caused harm.
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