A small union has called a strike at Fiat Chrysler's Melfi plant in Italy to protest against the huge sums of money spent by Italy's Juventus soccer club to sign up Cristiano Ronaldo. Exor, the investment holding of Italy's Agnelli family, owns nearly 30 percent of Fiat Chrysler (FCA) and 64 percent of Juventus. FCA and Juventus are completely separate entities, each managing their own finances and operations.
"It is unacceptable that while the (owners) ask workers of FCA ... for huge economic sacrifices for years, the same decide to spend hundreds of millions of euros for the purchase of a player," the USB union said in an emailed statement.
Thousands of FCA plant workers across Italy have been on state-sponsored temporary layoff schemes for years due to lack of new models. However, the company has launched a new investment strategy to 2022 which it says should allow all employees in Italy to return to work by the end of 2022.Fiat-Chrsyler Logo. For representative purposes only. (Image: Reuters)
The independent union, which is not part of the larger, national labour confederations, does not represent many workers at Melfi. "The owners should invest in car models that guarantee the future of thousands of people rather than enriching only one," the union said.
The carmaker, whose plants churn out Jeep SUVs, sporty Alfa Romeos, luxury Maseratis and tiny Fiats, had promised to bring all employees in Italy back to work by the end of 2018, but that goal slipped as investments and product launches were delayed.
Italian champions Juventus agreed to pay Real Madrid 100 million euros ($117 million) to secure the Portuguese striker for four years. Ronaldo has been world player of the year five times.
On the other hand, unions representing the majority of workers at Fiat Chrysler in Italy rejected the strike. The unions criticised USB's move as "mere advertising", saying it was "incredible that in such a delicate phase for the FCA group... someone is calling for a strike on a matter that has nothing to do with work and with workers".