Workers at a Fiat factory in Italy’s impoverished south have backed tougher management conditions in return for investment to keep their plant open.
In a referendum, just under two thirds of staff voted in favour of the controversial plan.
Fiat hopes to raise productivity at Pomigliano d’Arco near Naples by making shifts more flexible, restricting strikes and limiting benefits such as sick days. In exchange, the firm would move production of the next Panda model there from Poland.
“It is a big sacrifice for them to bring the Panda from Poland because over there in Poland, the costs are very low,” said one worker who backed the company’s proposals.
Another man who also supported the deal said workers are fed up but now the factory will have a future, even if staff remain laid off in the short term. “Let’s finally have this car!” he said.
It is not clear whether the result is emphatic enough to convince Fiat to make the 700 million euro investment. If it does go ahead, it could set an important precedent for labour relations nationwide.