February 3, 2010 / 3:19 PM / 10 years ago

Workers strike at Fiat plants in Italy

PALERMO, Italy, Feb 3 (Reuters) - Workers at Fiat FIA.MI plants across Italy held a four-hour strike on Wednesday to protest plans to shut a factory in Sicily.

Fiat Chief Executive Sergio Marchionne has said that the Italian carmaker will close the plant, known as Termini Imerese, because it is losing money on every car it makes there. The move has been met with protests and work stoppages. [nN13173645]

Unions said a protest outside the plant’s gates drew massive support. The strike came ahead of a Friday meeting of unions with Italian Industry Minister Claudio Scajola to discuss the planned closure.

Last week, a Fiat union source told Reuters the government has received seven proposals for Termini, providing hope for workers there. No details of the proposals nor the parties involved are known. [nLDE60S221]

Fiat has offered to move Panda production to Pomigliano, Italy, from Poland, in return for shutting Termini.

Pope Benedict last weekend called on businesses and officials to stem job losses and made explicit reference to both Termini and an aluminium smelter owned by U.S.-based Alcoa (AA.N) that could be shut down within days. [nLDE60U0EG]

There were also strikes on Wednesday at Fiat’s plants in Turin — where it makes the Alfa Romeo MiTo — as well as Frosinone, Chieti and Potenza. Strikes at the company’s other Italian factories will take place in the coming days.

(Reporting by Milan bureau; Writing by Maria Sheahan)

((maria.sheahan@thomsonreuters.com; +39 02 6612 9442; Reuters Messaging: maria.sheahan.thomsonreuters.com@thomsonreuters.net)) Keywords: FIAT/STRIKE

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