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Left-wing union blasts labour deal reached with Indesit

FIOM refuses to sign deal to prevent 1,425 lay-offs

04 December, 12:45
Left-wing union blasts labour deal reached with Indesit (ANSA) - Rome, December 4 - The left-wing Italian union FIOM-CGIL on Wednesday slammed a labour deal reached with home-appliance maker Indesit.

The agreement signed off by the FIM, UILM and UGL unions as well as Italian local and central governments will ward off 1,425 lay-offs and ensure 83 million euros worth of investment in Italian operations, Indesit said.

In a statement, FIOM-CGIL called the deal ''extremely serious'' and claimed its ''compromises the future of workers and throws a shadow on the role played by institutions in a difficult dispute like this''.

FIOM-CGIL objected in particular to the agreement to allow Indesit to move clothes-washing machine production away from its current location at the southern Italian city of Caserta, and replace it with stove production taken from another Italian plant located in Melano, east of Ancona.

The hypothesis of a separate agreement for workers excluding those of FIOM-CGIL ''leaves all the problems raised in six months of negotiations unresolved...the sale of the Indesit group, the future of Italian manufacturing plants, the protection of employment levels'' the union said. FIOM-CGIL said it would now talk to workers and put the deal to a referendum vote.

Italian Industry Undersecretary Claudio De Vincenti expressed satisfaction with the deal reached late Tuesday evening, which he said included the company's vow to stop redundancy proceedings and a commitment to not fire workers for five years.

Instead the appliance company will reduce production capacity using retirement schemes and government-supported furlough measures.

Moreover, Indesit now plans to relocate in Italy manufacturing currently done in Spain, Poland and Turkey, as well as invest of more than 80 million euros in Italian operations. De Vincenti explained that the deal thus ensures that Indesit will reinforce its medium- and high-end manufacturing in Italy.

Tuesday evening's agreement came after labour negotiations ruptured on November 19. Indesit's management pulled out of talks after fractious night spent with union and government representatives, and opened a procedure to fire 1,425 workers.

The company had announced at the beginning of June that it was set to slash the jobs, including 25 managers, 150 white-collar staff and 1,250 factory workers across three Italian manufacturing plants.

Indesit's 70-million-euro restructuring plan sought to keep only high-end appliance manufacturing in Italy, and to concentrate low-cost appliance manufacturing in Poland and Turkey.

Immediately following the announcement, unions FIOM-CGIL, FIM-CISL and UILM called for strikes that hit the company throughout the summer.