Fiat says Turin court rejects Fiom union's appeal

MILAN, April 14 Sat Apr 14, 2012 9:27am EDT

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MILAN, April 14 (Reuters) - Italian automaker Fiat said on Saturday a Turin labor court dismissed 21 appeals from labor union Fiom-CGIL, ruling that the union did not have a right to representation after it refused to sign a labor contract with Fiat last year.

The ruling is the latest twist in a long running battle between Fiat and Italy's largest metalworkers union over Fiat's move to ask workers for more flexible labor conditions. Fiom-CGIL opposed the plan, and therefore did not sign a new labor contract with Fiat that incorporated the reforms.

Fiom-CGIL maintains however its members still have the right to representation on the factory floor. To obtain it, Fiom-CGIL has filed 61 lawsuits in 20 courts across Italy. Some courts have ruled in favor of Fiat, and some in favor of Fiom-CGIL.

Fiat said the ruling confirmed that "labor rights are applicable only to those who sign labor accords with companies."

Fiom-CGIL's Giorgio Airaudo, who is in charge of the Auto sector for the union, said the union will appeal.

"We will appeal because, as Fiat itself says, different judges have made different rulings," he was quoted as saying by ANSA newswire.

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