Fincantieri to cut 1,200 jobs in restucturing plan

At the end of December 2011, Italy’s state-controlled shipbuilder, Fincantieri, and the unions, Fim-Cisl, Uilm-Uil, Ugl and Failms-Cisal, reached agreement on the company's restructuring programme. However, the largest sectoral trade union, the Fiom-Cgil, refused to sign the agreement because 1,200 jobs will be cut. The future of two of the firm’s eight production plants is also unclear. Fincantieri workers have organised national protests against the programme.

Background

The Fincantieri Group, a state-run Italian company controlled by the Ministry of the Economy, is one of the most important shipbuilders in the world. It employs about 8,500 people in Italy in eight ship-building yards, producing cruise liners, cargo ships, merchant and military vessels. It also controls various companies abroad.

In May 2011, against a background of international crisis in the ship-building sector, Fincantieri announced a company restructuring programme for 2011–2014. This planned for 2,551 redundancies; 1,400 through the closure of production plants at Castellammare di Stabia (Naples) and Sestri Ponente (Genoa). The remaining 1,151 redundancies would be spread throughout all of the group’s other production sites in Italy. National protests followed this announcement and, following a meeting with the government and trade unions, the company withdrew the plan. The social partners set up two sets of negotiations to try to resolve the arguments over restructuring (IT1106019I).

The Fincantieri and the trade unions spent two months negotiating. The unions involved were:

  • the Italian Metalworkers’ Federation, affiliated to the Italian Confederation of Workers’ Unions (Fim-Cisl);
  • the Union of Italian Metalworkers affiliated to the Union of Italian Workers (Uilm-Uil);
  • the General Workers Union (UGL);
  • the Autonomous Italian Federation of Metal and Steel Workers and Services (FAILMS) affiliated to the Italian Confederation of Autonomous Workers’ Unions (Cisal);
  • the Federation of White-collar and Blue-collar Metalworkers, affiliated to the General Confederation of Italian Labour (Fiom-Cgil).

All, except Fiom-Cgil who said the new proposal was worse than the previous one, reached agreement (in Italian, 391Kb PDF) on 21 December 2011 at the Ministry of Employment.

Contents of the agreement

The new plan agrees 1,243 redundancies at Fincantieri and the use of a wage-guarantee fund to make up the pay of those employees who are laid off. This fund would be available for a maximum of 3,670 workers (with expected use by 2,233 people). The redundancies will affect all production sites, except Sestri and Castellamare, where the number of redundancies has yet to be disclosed. Of those made redundant only about 200 will be able to claim retirement pensions, due to recent changes in the law which took effect on 4 December.

The agreement also sets out measures aimed at reducing the number of redundancies:

  • training programmes to guarantee re-allocation of workers;
  • the opportunity to move voluntarily from full time to part time;
  • voluntary early retirement;
  • voluntary mobility;
  • voluntary transfer of individuals within the company.

The new plan also foresees investments of €50 million for 2012 and another € 102 million for 2013–2014 in order to strengthen the research and development division of the company.

Meeting between government and social partners

Following numerous protests and strikes organised by workers at all the production sites in the group, the Minister for Economic Development, Infrastructure and Transport, Corrado Passera, summoned the trade unions to a meeting at the beginning of January, in order to restart negotiations over Fincantieri.

Afterwards the minister confirmed the validity of the December agreement signed by the trade unions and the company, and stated that it is the government’s intention to create a stable future for all Fincantieri production sites.

The reactions of the social partners

Rocco Palombella, General Secretary of Uilm-Uil, has underlined the importance of the government pledge to keep all production plants open, and the fact that the government will meet the requests of the trade union. Giuseppe Farina, General Secretary of Fim-Cisl, has agreed, saying:

The government has confirmed its commitment to protect production sites and verify how to guarantee the relaunch and maintenance of all eight production plants.

Fiom-Cgil’s view of the December agreement, however, remains unchanged after its meeting with the Minister and it has announced a national strike of eight hours in an attempt to get the agreement changed. Fiom-Cgil wants to negotiate with the Ministry on the industrial interventions necessary to guarantee the future of all the Fincantieri plants.

Sofia Sanz, Cesos

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