Fiat workers strike to protest planned job cuts; unions meet with company

Associated Press, Thursday 23 May 2002, 3:54 PM ET

TURIN, Italy—Workers at Fiat SpA's Iveco truck division walked off the job for two hours Thursday to protest planned job cuts and voice concern about the future of the troubled carmaker.

Unions reported an 80 percent participation in the stoppage, but Fiat said the figure was 27 percent, the ANSA news agency said.

Another walkout by other Fiat sectors is planned for Friday.

Thursday's strike was the first since Fiat, Italy's largest private-sector company, announced May 15 that it would cut its work force by more than 2,800 employees.

The announcement came after Fiat reported losses of 529 million euros (dlrs 482 million) in the first quarter of this year—worse than analysts had predicted.

Fiat employs 198,000 people worldwide, including 100,000 in Italy. Most of the slated cuts are slated to come from Fiat headquarters in Turin.

Also Thursday, Fiat executives met with union leaders to try to explain the cuts and Fiat's future strategy, but union leaders emerged disappointed.

Union leader Cosmano Spagnolo said it was “positive” that Fiat had given the unions more information about the plans but said he still didn't get a sense of where the company was heading.

“Fiat didn’t tell us anything about the future productivity arrangements of the group,” he was quoted by ANSA as saying. “I see a company in serious difficulty.”