MILAN -- Italian industrial group Fiat will close its Melfi plant later on Friday because a truckers' strike has blocked shipment of new vehicles from the factory, leaving its car parks full, a spokesman said.
Lorry drivers have been striking against car transporter companies since April 26 and stockpiles have been rising at factories around Italy. The drivers are not striking against Fiat in particular.
The length of the Melfi closure would depend on how long the strike continued, the spokesman said. The 5,000 workers at the southern Italian plant will be paid from a state-and-company fund for temporary layoffs while the plant is shut.
Last week, Fiat said that Melfi would be one of the first plants to be full because of the strike and that others would follow soon after. The spokesman said Fiat would give more information about plans for other plants later.
Earlier this week, Fiat Chief Executive Sergio Marchionne said the strike had cost the company 350,000 euros ($449,600) so far as it made alternative plans to move cars by rail and ship.
A three-week strike at Melfi in the second quarter 2004 hit Fiat's earnings, costing it an estimated 40 million to 50 million euros.