Fiat CEO says ready to meet Fiom labour union chief

Atessa, ITALY, July 9 Tue Jul 9, 2013 6:27am EDT

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Atessa, ITALY, July 9 (Reuters) - Italian carmaker Fiat Chief Executive Sergio Marchionne said on Tuesday he would meet the head of the Fiom labor union, possibly ending an unpopular rift with the union over the company's 2011 labor contract.

"We are more than happy to meet Fiom, but taking as a starting point the fact that previously-approved labor agreements cannot be called into question," said Marchionne.

Fiat, which employs about 86,000 workers in Italy, has been locked in a long-running dispute with Fiom over the carmaker's decision to ask workers for more flexible conditions to reduce absenteeism and boost productivity.

Fiat asked workers to accept changes in the one-size-fits all national contract in exchange for making investments in its Italian factories.

Most of Fiat's workforce voted in favor of the changes, but Fiom did not, saying that the new contract violates workers' rights.

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