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Alfa, American style

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Alfa, American style

Automotive News -- August 2, 2010 - 12:01 am ET

Fiat/Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne is famous for being a workaholic, a guy who toils 20 hours some days and drives his employees to the limit.

But some workers at Fiat's Pomigliano d'Arco plant near Naples in southern Italy are resisting Marchionne's plan to increase their hours, restrict their right to strike and penalize rampant absenteeism, according to a report in The New York Times.

"The less they work, the happier they are," Vittorio di Giola, owner of a worker hangout named Caffetteria Vicky, told the newspaper.

The 5,200 workers at the plant make Alfa Romeos.

For the past year, Pomigliano has been operating just five days a month building older cars such as the Alfa Romeo 159 and GT. Marchionne wants to increase production from 35,000 units a year to 280,000 and operate the plant 24 hours a day.

"He wants to impose American-style standards," employee Nello Niglio said of Marchionne's plan. "But too much work is going to kill our workers."

If employees agree to change their ways, Marchionne told them he would invest $900 million to bring production of the Fiat Panda from Poland back to Italy, saving Pomigliano d'Arco from closing.

Workers gathered recently in street protests. But a majority see the writing on the wall -- 63 percent voted to back the plan in June.

Read more: http://www.autonews.com/article/20100802/OEM02/308029960/-1#ixzz0vSD9pkB1

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