Unions reach deal to save 611 Berco jobs

Government uses labour incentives used to save positions

Unions reach deal to save 611 Berco jobs

Rome, August 8 - A government-mediated deal to avert more than 600 layoffs at manufacturer Berco SpA was announced Thursday. The company, based in Copparo, had earlier announced plans to lay off 611 workers from its plants. But after negotiations that continued late into the night Wednesday, the Italian government emerged to say that an extension of labour benefits means the jobs will be protected for another 12 months. Labour Minister Enrico Giovannini said he was pleased with "the balanced agreement" reached between the Italian Metalworkers Union (UILM) and Berco that will extend temporary government benefits through the cassa integrazione (CIG) fund for a year. The arrangement demonstrates "the continuous commitment of public institutions to operate successfully," despite the ongoing economic and corporate crisis in Italy, Giovannini said in a statement. The plan is to maintain jobs at Berco sites including Copparo, Busano, and Castelfranco while freezing the current collective bargaining agreement at some locations until as late as October 2015. The new deal also includes incentives for early retirement and employment transfers. Berco, which was founded in Copparo in 1920, is now a subsidiary of German-based ThyssenKrupp and employs about 3,000 in Italy producing chassis for bulldozers and other heavy equipment. About 2,600 work in Copparo with another 100 in the Turin-area at the town of Busano Canavese, while others are employed at the Castelfranco plant in the Veneto region near Treviso. Berco operates foreign sales branches and subsidiary locations in the United States, Germany, Brazil, the United Kingdom, China, Bulgaria, and India.

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