TURIN, Italy, Jan. 18 (UPI) -- Automaker Fiat said it is ready to raise salaries for its Italian workers to German worker levels and share profits if they help lower production costs.
Fiat Chief Executive Officer Sergio Marchionne said factory-specific accords such as one reached recently at its Turin facility and the Pomigliano d'Arco plant near Naples are needed to boost productivity at Italian plants to move forward with plans to invest $26.7 billion in Italy over the next five years, Italian news agency ANSA reported Tuesday.
"Let me improve the costs of using the plants and I'll raise the salaries," Marchionne said in an interview with Rome newspaper La Repubblica after 54 percent of the workers at the Turin facility, also known as Mirafiori, approved the deal.
Marchionne said he wanted to introduce profit-sharing plans for Fiat's Italian workers, while stressing "we have to make profits (at the plants), before we can share them."
The car manufacturer met fierce opposition from the Italian General Confederation of Labor and its engineering workers' arm over the Turin agreement, which union officials said they considered an attack on labor rights.