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Fiat slow demand means temporary layoffs at Pomigliano

'Forecasts too optimistic' union says

Fiat slow demand means temporary layoffs at Pomigliano

(ANSA) - Naples, August 29 - Fiat is blaming sluggish auto demand for its decision to place workers at its Pomigliano plant on temporary layoff for two weeks this fall. Fiat, Italy's biggest private-sector employer, told its unions Wednesday that production will be halted from Sept. 24 to Oct. 5. Italian metal workers union FIOM said the announcement was "not surprising." "It is evident that the forecasts were too optimistic," said Giorgio Airaudo,national secretary of FIOM in Turin. The trade union and Fiat have been locked in a dispute over the fate of 145 union members. Fiat tried and failed to overturn a court order to hire the workers at its Pomigliano d'Arco plant, which produces the small Panda. Fiat didn't rehire any FIOM members when it set up a new corporate entity to run the factory in 2010 after a dispute with the union over policies the company wanted to implement in Pomigliano. A Rome court in June ruled that that was unfair discrimination, ordered Fiat to take on the FIOM members and awarded 19 of them 3,000 euros in damages. FIOM, which is linked to the nation's biggest union CGIL, claimed that, among other things, the Pomigliano accord is against the Italian constitution because it infringes on workers' right to strike. Fiat said the agreement was necessary to boost productivity and make the facility viable, and has introduced similar factory-specific deals at other plants in Italy.

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