MILAN, April 14 (Reuters) - Automaker Fiat said on Saturday a Turin court dismissed 21 appeals from labour union Fiom-CGIL, marking a step forward for Fiat in a crusade by the union that has highlighted the complexities of Italian labour law.
The Turin labor court ruled that the union did not have a right to factory representation after it refused to sign a 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 decision to ask workers for more flexible conditions. Fiom-CGIL opposed the plan, and therefore did not sign a new 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 appeals in 20 courts across Italy.
Of the five court rulings so far, some courts have ruled in favour of Fiat, and some in favor of Fiom-CGIL - highlighting the uncertainty facing companies in Italy in labour disputes.
On Friday, courts in Naples and Lecce handed down directly opposite rulings. Previously, a court in Bologna ruled in Fiom-CGIL's favour, and a court in Milan in favour of Fiat.
Fiat said the Turin ruling confirmed that "labour rights are applicable only to those who sign labour accords with companies."
Turin is Fiat's home town and the site of its flagship Mirafiori factory.
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.