Whirlpool-Embraco reps at industry min (4)

Tajani has long talk with Whirlpool boss

(ANSA) - Rome, March 1 - Representatives of US multinational appliance maker Whirlpool and its Brazilian fridge-component-making unit Embraco had "technical" talks at the industry ministry on Thursday, sources said. The talks follow contacts between Industry Minister Carlo Calenda and Whirlpool CEO Marc Bitzer over Embraco's plans to move 500 jobs from Italy to Slovakia, closing its Italian plant near Turin.
    The talks are aimed at verifying if slim possibilities of a rethink "may concretely lead to positive developments", the sources said.
    European Parliament President Antonio Tajani said earlier Thursday he had had a long talk over the phone with Whirlpool CEO Bitzer about Embraco's plans to move the 497 jobs from Italy to Slovakia. Tajani said "we are working constructively for a positive solution in favour of the workers at Chieri" near Turin.
    "It's not going to be easy but, as I promised, I'll give it my all".
    On Wednesday Brazilian Industry Minister Marcos Jorge de Lima on Wednesday promised Tajani he would do "all he could" on Embraco's plans to move production from Italy to Slovakia with the loss of nearly 500 jobs, Tajani said. De Lima "assured me he will do everything possible to lend a hand and will call the firm to understand how the situation is evolving," Tajani said after a long phone call with the minister.
    Tajani said he had "illustrated the picture of the situation of Embraco and asked for help and collaboration on the part of Brazilian authorities, also in the context of relations with the Mercosur".
    Minister de Lima "considered positive the idea of contacting the Americans," Tajani said, referring to parent company Whirlpool.
    "We are trying to do so," he said.
    The minister said he would do his utmost to help solve the situation while stressing that both Embraco and Whirlpool were private companies.
    Embraco, a Brazilian fridge-compressor unit of US multinational Whirlpool, plans to close its plant near Turin.
    Italy has referred the case to European Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager who has vowed to be intransigent if it turns out that Slovakian incentives to lure the company there constitute State aid, which is banned.
    photo: Whirlpool workers protest in Turin