Fiat rewards unemployed with 'productivity bonus'

'Breath of fresh air' says FIM labor union

Fiat rewards unemployed with 'productivity bonus'

(ANSA) - Naples, July 30 - Unemployed workers at Italian automaker Fiat's plant in Pomigliano near Naples will receive a 600-euro "productivity bonus" in their paychecks for July. The announcement was made Monday by an ex-representative of the FIM metalworkers union, Gerardo Giannone. "It's a breath of fresh air for those who are still waiting to be hired by the 'newco'," Giannone said, referring to the corporate entity created by Fiat to make negotiations and worker contracts plant-specific, abandoning a national contract for all metal workers. As of January 1, Fiat applied the Pomigliano model-worker contract to all of its Italian automotive plants. "Fiat has maintained its promise and has assigned its production bonus to everyone, including the workers (receiving unemployment checks) for such a long time," Giannone said. After long clashes between management and unions, particularly the leftwing FIOM, plant workers voted in 2010 to accept the management's terms. Management asked for more flexibility and greater productivity from workers in exchange for productivity incentives, 700 million euros of investments to overhaul Fiat facilities, and the promise to make a popular car model, the Panda. News of the "productivity bonus" for the unemployed comes on the eve of a major meeting between unions and Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne at the company's headquarters in Turin, and just days after the Pomigliano plant - once an infamous productivity laggard - received the prestigious international recognition "Automotive Lean Production 2012". Sources have indicated that Fiat may soon turn to Pomigliano to produce a version of the Panda that runs on methane.

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