The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Fiat puts restructure plan on backburner

Rome, Nov, 26 (AFP): Fiat has agreed to suspend a controversial restructuring plan designed to shed 8,100 jobs and save its loss-making auto wing during crisis talks with Italy’s government and unions, a government official said.

Regional affairs minister Enrico La Loggia said the company had agreed to suspend the plan until December 5 to allow more time to negotiate with unions.

Industry minister Antonio Marzano is to hold further talks with Fiat executives and union officials tomorrow, La Loggia said. The announcement came late on Monday at the end of a four-hour crisis meeting in Rome between government ministers, Fiat management and union officials called to discuss the crisis at the automaker.

Marzano told newspersons that the first tranche of some 5,000 layoffs at the company’s auto plants, due to begin on December 2, would be pushed back as a result. Union leaders hailed the climb-down as a victory. “We’ve reached a constructive result, nobody will be laid off on December 2,” said Giorgio Airaudo, a metalworkers’ union official at the talks.

“That was the precondition we wanted in order to discuss the company’s plan,” he added.

Earlier, officials said Fiat had signalled it was prepared to ease the controversial restructuring plan.

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ld fiat thousands march in rome to protest fiat's layoff plans

rome, nov 26 (ap) tens of thousands of striking fiat workers marched through rome today to protest the ailing automaker's plans to lay off about 8,100 people.

The demonstration was the latest in a series of protests and strikes staged by workers across the country to draw attention to their cause. It also came a day after government-sponsored talks were held between fiat and union officials.

Today's protest brought some 20,000 people to the streets of the capital's historical center, organisers said. Police in rome refused to give their estimate.

Fiat said participation in the eight-hour walkout hit 27 per cent.

Traffic across rome was disrupted in the morning, as thousands of workers arrived by train and bus from fiat factories from all over italy, including sicily's termini imerese and the arese factory near milan Ä two of the hardest-hit plants.

”We just want our jobs, this is a shame,” said 58-year-old calogero maniscalco, who has worked at the termini imerese plant for 30 years.

Yesterday, fiat offered to reopen the termini imerese factory, where all 1,800 workers risk losing their job. The turin-based company also said it would postpone laying off thousands of other workers for a few days.

Unions leader called the measures insufficient.

”It's step forward, but the crisis is far from being solved,” uil union leader luigi angeletti said at the demonstration. “Only a good agreement can give workers the necessary guarantees.” Ap ys ys 11261933 d

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