The boss of Fiat, Sergio Marchionne, has sparked outrage by saying the carmaker would perform better without its loss-making Italian plants.
Interviewed on Italian state television Marchionne said all the profits from Italy’s biggest industrial group are made abroad and Italian workers are much less productive than those at a Fiat plant in Poland.
He said: “No investor will come from abroad to invest even a single euro in this country.”
Asked why he replied: “Because we’re at 48th position in the world list of productivity, 118th out of 139 countries for worker efficiency.”
The comments sparked an angry reaction from unions – with whom Fiat is currently negotiating concessions – and from Gianfranco Fini, Speaker of the lower house of parliament.
Focusing on Marchionne’s dual nationality, Fini said: “It’s quite paradoxical, he’s more Canadian than Italian… but if FIAT is still a giant in this sector, it’s due to a large investment by the Italian State, by Italian taxpayers.”
The unions worry that Marchionne wants to move car production out of Italy altogether after it separates the car division from its other industrial activities next year.