Italian Fiat factories may reopen soon

In Italy, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles hopes to reopen its factories as soon as the containment measures are relaxed. Negotiations are underway with the unions. Reorganizations of assembly lines and safety protocols could be implemented.

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) is negotiating with its unions to strengthen sanitary measures in its factories in Italy so that it can resume production of its most profitable models as soon as the authorities loosen the containment set up against the spread of the coronavirus.

An extension of this confinement, in force for the moment until April 13, is not excluded, but recent data on the epidemic in Italy give hope for a slowdown in the circulation of the virus.

Reorganize assembly lines

Fiat unions are proposing to reorganize assembly lines, stagger shift changes and mark the ground to ensure a distance of one meter is maintained between workers, said Raffaele Apetino, representative of the FIM metallurgy union.

Among other measures called for by the unions are temperature control and the provision of masks and protective equipment, he added, stressing that these devices would inevitably lead to lower production rates.

“FCA has been very willing to accept our proposals,” said Raffaele Apetino, who said the unions would have a telephone meeting on Thursday April 9 with management representatives in order to prepare an agreement.

Three factories concerned

The automaker, which did not comment on these negotiations, told union centers that it plans to restart production in three factories on the Peninsula as soon as the government begins to lift containment measures.

The Jeep Compass and new hybrid models in Melfi, in southern Italy, would be affected; the production of light commercial vehicles in Atessa, in the center of the country; and the preparatory work for the manufacture of the new electric Fiat 500 in the Mirafiori factory in Turin.

This restart of production would involve just under 10,000 FCA employees out of a total of 55,000 in Italy.

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