Sunday, September 23, 2012

Fiat: waiting for the “right time” to invest in Italy

Yesterday the Italian government (represented among the others by PM Mario Monti and Labour Minister Elsa Fornero) held a long-awaited meeting with Fiat bosses (chief executive Sergio Marchionne and President Lapo Elkann).
The debate about the Italian carmaker company has been going on in Italy for years now. The issue is that Fiat chief executive Marchionne (now chief of Chrysler too) is taking more and more production abroad, leaving many Italian factories on the edge of shutdown. Many workers have lost their job, many more have been put on cassa integrazione (something like a unemployment insurance).

Picture: Fiat chief executive Sergio Marchionne

Workers and trade unions were all waiting for yesterday’s meeting, hoping that the government would somehow force Fiat to invest more in Italy.
But after a five hour meeting, absolutely nothing was achieved. As we say in Italian, tutto fumo e niente arrosto (literally: all smoke, but no roast).
The official result of the meeting is that Fiat ought to invest more resources in Italy, but that they are waiting for the right time, so that they can take advantage of the European recovery. Translated: maybe they will invest in Italy, but only when the economic crisis magically solves itself.
Pierluigi Bersani, Democratic Party leader, stated that the meeting was worthless, as it did nothing to solve the main issue: employment. I agree with him, for a change.
Meanwhile, trade unions are also calling for a meeting with the government. Unfortunately, I guess, it will take more than a couple of meetings and some empty words to solve the problem.