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Letta vows to slash labor costs after Electrolux wage cuts

'Production can and must stay in Italy'

30 January, 17:57
Letta vows to slash labor costs after Electrolux wage cuts (ANSA) - Rome, January 30 - Italian Premier Enrico Letta on Thursday vowed to continue working to cut labor costs in Italy in light of a major manufacturer planning to drastically slash wages.

"Reducing labor costs is an essential key, and we want to proceed down this road," said Letta at a forum of European industry ministers in Rome. "Other measures will follow". Labor costs have been a sensitive theme in Italy this week after the government summoned Electrolux managers for emergency talks after the electrical-appliance multinational announced a shock wage-cut plan it said was necessary to keep its Italian plants running.

Electrolux said it is proposing cutting wages in Italy by three euros an hour, which it said was an 8% cut and would amount to a reduction of less than 130 euros a month in workers' net salaries.

The company said it had also proposed freezing salary increases due to seniority and other raises linked to the sector's national collective contract for three years in order to "cool the inflation of labour costs, which is responsible for the continuing growth in the competitive gap with the countries of Eastern Europe".

Electrolux added that it was willing to consider "other forms of reducing labour costs with lower or, if possible, no consequences on salaries".

Speaking at the forum, Letta said the government "will not accept raising a white flag," and said there would be "maximum commitment" from his cabinet, "because such production can and must stay in Italy". "We will do everything to convince the company," he added.