Fiat, Italian Labor Unions Ask Italy For Help

January 27, 2009

Fiat and Italian labor unions report the loss of up to 60,000 jobs unless the government steps in to provide relief. The cause - of course - is the dismal global economy, causing what Nissan's Carlos Ghosn termed a "slump" for the entire auto industry.

The Italian government in Rome claims that it is open to talks on possible aid. Helping push negotiations in Fiat's favor is the automaker's position as Italy's largest employer in the private sector.  Talks between Fiat, the government, and the unions are set to begin tomorrow.

This puts sobering perspective on the Fiat/Chrysler merger. Will a struggling Fiat S.p.A., whose four-quarter profits dropped 70 percent, be of much help to an ailing Chrysler? And with U.S. auto sales in the doldrums, will the arrival of Fiat products into overcrowded U.S. dealer lots do anything for the Italians?

[source: Detroit News]

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