Turin

Fiat will end Italy 'commitment' without new union rules

Forced by high court to talk to hard-liners

Fiat will end Italy 'commitment' without new union rules

Turin, September 2 - Fiat on Monday threatened to end its "commitment" to Italy unless the government draws up new rules for labour relations in Italy. A new law on worker representation and upholding contracts "cannot be avoided," the Turin car maker said after recent tussles with hard-line unions. Government intervention is a "'sine qua non' (essential condition) for Fiat's continued industrial commitment in Italy," it said. The threat was issued as Fiat said it would accept a high- court ruling to allow the hard-line metalworkers union Fiom to represent workers. In July, the Constitutional Court ordered Fiat to revive relations with Fiom, the metalworkers' arm of Italy's biggest and most left-wing trade union CGIL. Fiom appealed to the supreme court after Fiat said it would no longer talk to it after it refused to sign labour agreements it said were unacceptable. Fiom has engaged in a series of bitter fights with Fiat in recent years over the carmaker's efforts to introduce new, more flexible working contracts and practices which the union fears will undermine workers' rights. Fiat chief Sergio Marchionne has long accused unions of dragging down loss-making plants in Italy which are already being subsidised by the rest of the global group.

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