Lunedì, 22 Ottobre 2018
TURIN

Minister rebuts Fiat boss over 'impossible Italy'

English
© ANSA

(By Emily Backus)
Turin, July 31 - Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne's
comments slamming industrial conditions in Italy sparked furor
on Wednesday, with industry and regional leaders rallying to his
defence, while Italy's labour minister countered him.
Marchionne on a Tuesday conference call told analysts and
media that the ''conditions in industrial Italy remain
impossible'' and said Fiat could move manufacturing of new Alfa
Romeo models outside of Italy.
The governor of Piedmont, where Fiat was founded and it
remains based, defended Marchionne and demanded clearer
industrial policy from state government.
''Where is the government's industrial policy? How long do
we have to wait to see something done? There is no more time,''
said Roberto Cota.
''Every day hundreds of businesses close down and go away,
because they can't make it, because doing business here isn't
competitive and often impossible,'' Cota added.
The governor of the north-eastern Italian region of
Veneto, Luca Zaia, also agreed with Marchionne, and accused Rome
of ''sleeping'' while businesses fled to places where ''taxes
are fair and (regulatory) obligations are human''.
''Marchionne is right. Italy has become incompatible with
free enterprise,'' said Zaia.
In Turin, the president of the metal mechanics company
association AMMA also supported Marchionne.
''Fiat's reaction is justified,'' said Alberto Dal Poz.
''Industrial conditions in Italy are impossible not just
for Fiat. Regulatory certainty is fundamental for all
businesses. It's not about Fiat against FIOM, there's no need to
resort to ideology,'' Dal Poz added, making reference to the
left-wing FIOM trade union, which has clashed bitterly with Fiat
several times in recent years and recently won a court ruling
against Fiat.
Italy's Constitutional Court ruled in favour of FIOM, the
metalworkers' arm of Italy's biggest trade-union confederation
CGIL, which petitioned against being excluded from Fiat's
company union representation body (RSA) for not having signed
labour agreements.
Last week, Fiat warned that court ruling could have an
impact ''on its industrial strategies in Italy''.
Meanwhile, Italy's Labour Minister Enrico Giovannini said
on Wednesday that he did not agree with Fiat's CEO that the
country's industrial conditions were unfavorable.
Many of Italy's companies are continuing to ''invest,
grow, create jobs and profits, despite undeniable
difficulties,'' Giovannini said during a radio interview.
The chief of the Italian federation of industrialists
Confindustria, Giorgio Squinzi, supported the minister's line
that Italian businesses are indeed investing and striving for
growth as they fought for economic recovery.
But Squinzi also said the Fiat chief aimed to ''push'' the
country in the ''right direction'' with yesterday's comments,
and admitted Marchionne was correct that right now, in the
absence of change in industrial relations, it is very difficult
to continue to plan business activity in Italy.
On the other side of the spectrum, the chief of Italian
Communist party PRC, Paolo Ferrero, slammed the Italian labour
minister for only ''disagreeing'' and not being harsh enough
with Fiat.
He even called on the government to nationalize the
company, if necessary, to prevent it from transferring
production abroad.
''After all the public money that were given to Fiat, this
is the extremely bland position of the government? For
Marchionne - let's remember, a manager paid more than 2,000
times a worker's wage - one needs to block the transfer of
production, nationalizing the company if necessary,'' said
Ferrero.

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