Saturday, July 24, 2010

Fiat 'rescued' Chrysler, now its workers object to working as hard as Americans do, say it will 'kill' them

"Now fresh from rescuing Chrysler in the United States, Sergio Marchionne of Fiat is pushing these workers to be more devoted to their jobs, mirroring a larger effort by the government to improve Italy’s competitiveness and reduce its debt through austerity measures.

Even some workers here in Pomigliano, Fiat’s lowest-producing plant, complain of ingrained bad habits, citing peers who call in sick to earn money while working another job or skip work with a fake doctor’s note — especially when the local soccer team is playing....

  • He wants to impose American-style standards,” Nello Niglio, a factory worker, said of Mr. Marchionne’s requirements to work longer hours and cut back on absences.
  • But too much work is going to kill our workers.”...

The factory, which produces Alfa Romeos, is in many ways an extreme example of Italy’s woes. The 5,200 employees have been operating the plant at 32 percent capacity for the last two years, since demand collapsed during the economic crisis.

  • Keeping the plant open would seem to make little economic sense. But Fiat, which generates nearly half the region’s economic activity, faced political pressure to safeguard the livelihood of about 15,000 families

in a poor area gripped by organized crime. Unemployment and growth rates here are among the worst in the country, while productivity has been about 20 percent lower."...

  • photo above Fiat worker arguing prior to vote, from NY Times, IHT

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