By on August 1, 2010

A few weeks ago, I wrote about how Sergio Marchionne was successful in getting the majority of the unions at his Naples plant to sign a new work agreement. This was supposed to herald in a new era in Italian work practices and pacem in terris. Well, it seems that Fiat wants to press the issue home to the unions. Reuters reports that Fiat is so determined to teach Italian unions at their Pomigliano plant that their working practices are not sustainable, that they are now going to some extreme lengths. Fiat is now going to set up a new company to manage the plant near Naples. Doesn’t sound extreme, right? Well, there’s more.

The new company is being set up purposely so that it doesn’t fall under the purview (note to Bertel, please leave this link in!) [ED: Why would I take it out?] of the Confindustria business union. This means that the Pomigliano plant will not be covered by national job contracts. Which means this shifts more power to Fiat in terms of flexibility of contracts. Unsurprisingly, the only union to voice its displeasure was FIOM, which, if you remember, was the only union not to sign up to the new working agreement which Fiat offered to the workers. In fact, Maurizio Landini, FIOM union representative said that they would take Fiat to court to try and block Fiat from imposing these “discriminatory” (his word, not mine) hiring practices.

Looks like this poker game might turn into a shoot out and that never ends pretty. Just ask “Wild” Bill Hickok.

PS: Setting up supposedly independent companies to skirt job contracts and more is a European sport. One of the biggest offenders is the German government. When the German railroad turned from a government agency into a supposedly private venture – with 100 percent of the shares owned by the government – the “private” venture was split into some 525 “independent” companies.

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