Stellantis’ Melfi Assembly Plant has been struggling over the past year with ongoing supply shortages, labor issues, and cost issues. The plant remains one of the most important facilities in the European region, especially for the Jeep® brand. Currently, the plant manufactures the Jeep Renegade (BV) for both Europe and North America, the Jeep Compass (BU) for Europe, as well as the Fiat 500X (FD) for Europe and North America.
Recently, we talked about the issue of a logistics strike that put a halt to production at the Italian plant. Since then, there have been rumors spreading from upper management saying as many as 4,000 of the 7,000 workers at the facility could be temporary layoffs. The concept of “temporary” layoffs has made for some sleepless nights for employees, trade union officials, and local politicians. The result could suffer a huge blow to the economy of the region, as the facility and its centralized suppliers employ a number of people in the region.
Stellantis has made it apparent that its Italian plants are not as cost-effective as its other facilities around the globe.
In January 2021, trade unions raised an alarm over the “Tavares Plan”, about an alleged cut of thousands of jobs in the industrial area. At the time, the Stellantis claimed that they were being “visionaries” and “prophets of doom” according to the unions. But now, the facts are proving the unions right.
On Tuesday, trade unions of the Basilicata Region signed an important agreement in Potenza concerning the staff of Atlas Ifm. Atlas Ifm started layoff procedures of 73 employees, 13 of which are active at the Melfi facility. Atlas Fim provides the canteen services for the facility in Melfi, as well as a number of other services at several Stellantis sites.
The agreement guarantees the layoff of 52 weeks for the employees, as the measure will serve to buffer the precarious conditions of the canteen staff. According to sources, 42 other employees of Atlas Ifm are afraid of losing their jobs because of the layoffs.
According to spokespersons from Filcams Cgil (Michele Sannazzaro) and Uiltucs Uil (Donato Rosa) at the end of the meeting, “The danger is that Stellantis will give up the canteen service, thus reducing the jobs of catering staff. We had already [speculated] it last year and we had denounced it. We had asked to activate everything possible so as not to arrive unprepared when the possible scenario arises which, unfortunately, is taking shape.” They also included, “We consider the unequal treatment to be deeply unjust”.
The pair went on to say, “no more time can be wasted because the automotive crisis and the general context of crisis leaves no room for improvisation. We need a vision, a plan capable of coping with the tsunami that has already canceled many places and that could wipe out the industrial area of Melfi. It is not alarmism, ours is not pessimism, but it is realism. We, therefore, expect that the signature of this morning for the extraordinary layoff will be followed by other institutional meetings involving all the subjects capable of making a contribution to the development of a solution plan that secures the employment of workers engaged in the production site in Melfi”.
Stellantis has expressed that the plant will merge the two existing assembly lines into one for future production. According to the trade union, the restructuring will leave production capacity at the site unchanged at around 400,000 units. The plant is rumored to produce four new battery-electric vehicles (BEVs) for the DS Automobiles, Opel, Vauxhall, and Lancia brands as early as 2025.