MILAN -- Cost-cutting at Fiat's factories in Italy has led to cuts in cleaning services and the number of toilets available to workers, according to unions.
Carlos Tavares, CEO of Stellantis, the new group formed in January from the merger of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and PSA Group, has said that production costs at factories in Italy are up to four times more than in the automaker's plants in France or Spain.
Tavares has said the automaker will not cut jobs or close plants but he has promised more than 5 billion euros ($5.94 billion) per year in savings following the merger.
Davide Provenzano of the FIM union said Stellantis was taking action at its Mirafiori plant in Turin, where it builds the Fiat New 500 full-electric car, by reducing the amount of toilets available to workers, cutting cleaning shifts and temperatures, and reorganizing transport facilities.
"This is happening during COVID-19, when you should be increasing toilets available and cleaning services, rather than cutting them," Provenzano said.
Edi Lazzi of the left-leaning FIOM union said he believed the cost-saving actions in Italy were the personal initiatives of local management rather than a broad strategy launched by the group. "The measures are a drop in the ocean," he said.
Cost-containing measures were reported at other Italian sites.
Nicola Manzi of the UILM union said that Stellantis has cut cleaning services by some 35 percent in the Atessa plant in central Italy, Europe's largest van producing facility. However, he said that excluded disinfection services for the coronavirus and the number of toilets was also unchanged.
"We are currently running almost at full capacity, it would be hard to cut the number toilets here," he said.
Stellantis declined to comment.
The automaker will present its business plan in late 2021 or early 2022.