Fiat Chrysler discussing restart of operations in Italy

Fiat Chrysler discussing restart of operations in Italy
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Automaker Fiat Chrysler could be nearing the restart of operations at some facilities if the company can reach an agreement with union leaders over employee safety measures implemented to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

Reuters reported Wednesday that the company is in talks with union members about restarting production of its most profitable products at some Italian locations as the country looks to be ready to ease some public restrictions put in place to stop the virus from spreading.

Plans to reopen the plants are reportedly contingent on Fiat Chrysler management reaching a deal with union leadership on a number of issues, such as rolling shifts and guidelines ensuring that workers will be able to maintain social distancing while on the job.

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“FCA has showed great willingness to accept our proposals,” a top FIM union representative, Raffaele Apetino, told Reuters.

“Our aim is to sign it by the end of this week,” he added. “We want be ready to restart most profitable production just after Easter, if the government allows it.”

Italy has reported more deaths from coronavirus and total cases of the disease than most other countries in Europe, lagging behind only Spain in the number of total cases while eclipsing that country in deaths. The country went into lockdown last month, restricting almost all public activities and closing nonessential businesses.

Union officials representing workers at other auto companies including Ferrari were reportedly in similar talks with company management, Reuters reported.

A spokesperson for Fiat would not comment on the negotiations to Reuters but said in a statement: “As always workers’ health and security were the top priority for the company."