Fiat workers from all over Italy have converged on Turin – the headquarters of the giant car maker. They were protesting at possible factory closures and job losses as Fiat moves to seal partnerships with America’s Chrysler and Germany’s Opel. Fiat has said it wants to become one of the world’s biggest car makers, but its workers are worried about job cuts caused by the huge mergers.
One protester said: “If Fiat closes in Naples, there is only one other major employer in the area and that’s The Mafia. We want to assure our children the local mafia won’t benefit from the situation.” Another said: “If Fiat negotiates with Chrysler and Opel, we want to know how that will affect the Italian factories.”It is not only the Italian workers who are worried about job losses. German union bosses at Opel are adamantly opposed to any merger with Fiat saying it could mean the loss of 18,000 jobs across Europe. Fiat boss Sergio Marchionne has agreed to hold talks with the Italian government. He said: “Workers have no need to worry. We will do our best to avoid causing any damage that could be linked with the collapse of the market” Fiat has already provisionally agreed a tie-up with Chrysler and plans to submit a bid for Opel by 20 May. Fiat is counting on the Italian and German governments to guarantee financing of up to seven billion euros for the new company.