Alfa Romeo, Fiat output slowed by protest over working conditions

Alfa Romeo, Fiat output slowed by protest over working conditions

Automotive News Europe — 2023-05-15

Automotive Industry

Stellantis workers in Southern Italy protesting unsanitary toilets, a lack of work gear and insufficient heating have slowed down manufacturing of Alfa Romeo Tonales and Fiat Panda models.

Some staff at the Pomigliano plant close to Naples stopped working for two hours 2023 May 12, their third day of protests, according to Simone Marinelli, who heads the Fiom union’s automotive arm.

The plant is dirty and the toilets stink,” Marinelli said. “Work overalls are missing — some workers have to wait months to have the old and worn out ones replaced.

Stellantis said it rejected accusations of a lack of attention to working conditions, according to an Italy-based spokesman. The company always acts within the framework of labor contracts and with respect for its employees, while also considering the competitive environment of the automotive industry, he said.

Stellantis CEO Carlos Tavares is known to leave no stone unturned to find cost savings with the strategy underpinning earnings rising to record levels.

The concern over facility maintenance due to cutbacks at Pomigliano — where less than half of workers making the Panda took part in 2023 May 12's protests — is not isolated with staff at other factories also pressuring management to improve conditions.

Manufacturing sites in France are not receiving appropriate investments into their upkeep, said Christine Virassamy, who heads France’s CFDT labor union at the automaker, one of the country’s biggest.

Often there are clogged toilets, or soap is missing, or grass that does not get cut,” she said in a phone interview. “Ventilators are missing in summer and it can get stifling in factories.

The company has conducted an employee survey in November issues and has asked sites to come up with an action plan to ensure restaurants and toilets are clean, Chief Human Resources & Transformation Officer Xavier Chereau said in emailed comments. A follow-up survey is due this month.

Regarding those fundamentals, there is no question of budget,” according to the note.