Unions Agree With Fiat’s Special Lay-Off Scheme at Melfi Plant image

Labor unions accepted Fiat’s special lay-off scheme for the Melfi plant in Italy, allowing the company to restructure it before manufacturing new models.

Union UGL was the one to announce the unions’ approval, allowing the Italian automaker to go ahead with its plan to stop two production lines at the facility beginning with February 11th. The lay-off scheme might last until the end of 2014, but Fiat will be able to restart production as soon as the new lines will be ready.

“Fiat said production could likely start at the end of 2013, early 2014,” UGL’s metalworkers regional secretary Giuseppe Giordano told Reuters after attending a meeting with Fiat.

Earlier this month Fiat said it asked Italy’s government to approve a special layoff scheme for the Melfi plant so the automaker can restructure the facility before production of the Fiat and Jeep SUVs begins. Marchionne plans to make Fiat’s brands profitable in Europe before merging the Italian automaker with Chrysler. Fiat predicted a 700 million-euro ($935 million) loss in Europe for 2012 and said that sales will break even by 2015.

“With new investments in three-four years we will have full employment of our work force in Italy,” he said Fiat’s CEO Sergio Marchionne.