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Govt, unions hold Fiat to account after Chrysler deal

Automaker must now say 'what it wants to do here'

03 January, 12:49
Govt, unions hold Fiat to account after Chrysler deal (ANSA) - Rome, January 3 - The Italian government will "monitor and make sure that Fiat maintains its commitments in relation to its Italian production sites", economic development undersecretary Claudio De Vincenti said Friday.

"We want Italy to remain the nerve centre both on a managerial level and on the level of innovation, research and development," he added.

His comments came in response to fears of penalties for Italy following Wednesday's announcement by Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne of a deal to buy the remaining stake in American Chrysler from United Autoworkers (UAW) healthcare trust VEBA. Under the agreement Fiat and Chrysler will pay out $3.65 billion in cash to VEBA, sharing the cost, while Chrysler has agreed to paying the trust an additional $700 million over the next three years.

"Marchionne's strategy has privileged America without fighting in Italy and in Europe where other producers have defended their production levels and market share," said Susanna Camusso, leader of Italy's main unions confederation CGIL. "At a time of serious economic crisis Fiat's choices have left problems of reindustrialisation and employment unresolved," she added.

"It is time for Fiat to say what it wants to do here, what it wants to produce and in what factories".