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Talks break down between Indesit, unions

Appliance maker begins procedure to lay off 1,425 workers

19 November, 13:50
Talks break down between Indesit, unions (ANSA) - Rome, November 19 - Labour negotiations for Italian home-appliance maker Indesit broke down early Tuesday after sleepless managers and union representatives failed to reach agreement in a meeting at the industry ministry in Rome.

The meeting had begun Monday afternoon at 17:30.

Union sources told ANSA that Indesit management pulled out of the talks at about 7:00 on Tuesday, after a night of confrontation, and has opened a procedure toward laying off 1,425 workers.

Indesit issued a statement saying that it is ''forced to carry out its (restructuring) plan unilaterally'' given the ''incomprehensible impossibility of reaching an agreement with the unions''.

Indesit blamed the unions for the ''lack of agreement that blocks access to social welfare and penalizes workers'' with the opening of redundancy procedures.

Indesit also claims that the unions left 83 million euros in extraordinary investment that management was willing to put on the table.

The UILM union said that opening the procedure toward worker redundancies does not signal the end of negotiations, as there are still 75 days to find a solution.

The company said at the beginning of June that it was set to slash 1,425 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 would 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.

(photo: a sign tells Idesit to 'get back on board', recalling an order to the captain of the doomed Costa Concordia cruise ship)