(Adds comments from Iveco, CNH Industrial)
MILAN, Oct 26 (Reuters) –
Four auto groups believe pay increase requests proposed by Italian unions, including a 8.4% annual rise for next year, is too high, the UILM union said on Wednesday as talks got underway.
This month, unions presented their proposal to renew four-year contracts expiring at the end of 2022 for most Italian workers at carmakers Stellantis and Ferrari, truckmaker Iveco and agriculture and construction machine maker CNH Industrial, all descended from former Fiat.
The FIM-CISL, UILM, Fismic, UGLM and AQCF unions also requested wage increases of 4.5% for 2024 and 2.5% for 2025 to help workers recover purchasing power lost due to a Europe-wide spike in consumer price inflation.
As official talks started on Wednesday in Turin, the four companies stressed current difficulties caused by an aggressive path towards energy transition set by European policymakers and rising costs for energy, financial resources and raw materials, Rocco Palombella and Gianluca Ficco of UILM said in a statement .
Stellantis’ head of human resources in Italy Giuseppe Manca, however, said in a statement that unions had a “constructive” approach and the company wanted to continue to pursue a bargaining path with them it had started almost 12 years ago.
“With the national and international context we are experiencing, full of difficulties and challenges, we have one more reason to find solutions together that can adequately protect the interests of workers and the company,” Manca said.
He added Stellantis considered the new contract it is discussing with unions a “valuable tool” to achieve its competitiveness ambitions in Italy.
Vincezo Retus, the head of industrial relations for both Iveco and former parent CNH Industrial, also stressed that companies needed to control rising costs, but added they remained “completely open” to a pragmatic discussion on how to address workers’ expectations.
Talks for new contracts at the four manufactures cover almost 70,000 workers in Italy, two thirds of them at the former Fiat-Chrysler, which last year merged with France’s PSA to create Stellantis, whose brands also include Peugeot, Jeep and Opel.
Unions and the companies have scheduled seven more meetings to be held between mid-November and mid-December. (Reporting by Giulio Piovaccari Editing by Cristina Carlevaro, Mark Potter and David Gregorio)