MILAN -- Italian carmaker Fiat plans to keep thousands of workers at home for an extra week at the end of the summer break to get production back in line with sales, the Turin-based group told unions on Tuesday.
Fiat said 1,690 workers at the Sicilian plant of Termini Imerese, which makes the best-selling Punto model, would stay at home for an extra week at the end of a programmed summer break that starts on July 30. They will now come back on August 30.
The Melfi plant, where about 5,000 workers make Puntos and the mini Lancia Ypsilon, will also stay shut August 23-29 for what Fiat said were "market reasons".
In the huge Mirafiori plant in Turin, 1,400 workers on the Fiat Stilo, Alfa 166, Lancia Thesis and Lancia Lybra lines have been told to down tools from August 30 to September 5.
Fiat has regularly had to lay people off temporarily to cut output and avoid overstocking unsold cars.
Under the government-backed program, Fiat can lay off people for up to 52 weeks over two years. During that time, workers are paid a reduced salary from a public fund of company and employee contributions.