Contingent issues, such as the future of the Melfi plant, alongside strategic aspects such as investments in Stellantis in Italy. These are the themes at the center of the meeting on June 15 between the leaders of the Italian-French Group, with a delegation led by Davide My, deputy head of the Enlarged Europe area, the metalworking unions and the ministers of economic development Giorgetti and Labor Orlando.
The future of Melfi
The novelty comes with respect to the future of the Lucanian plant, the first in terms of volumes in Italy, where the Fiat 500X and the Jeep Renegade and Compass are produced. From 2024 the new production platform for 4 electric models will be active. It is one of the 4 platforms announced by the ceo Tavares during the assembly of 15 April 2021. In particular, the “medium” one will go to Melfi, the Stla Medium. The Lucanian plant will be the first Italian plant to have new models in assignment based on the Group’s future industrial plan, expected between the end of the year and the beginning of 2022. In the meantime, however, the production structure of the current plant where 2 lines work and where this one is working should change. 280,000 cars are expected to be produced per year. This Stellantis idea will pass to a single super-line with a maximum production capacity of 400 thousand cars, like the current one, where different models and engines will alternate, petrol, diesel and hybrid. A rationalization, therefore, in line with what the CEO had asked for in the first weeks Tavares to improve the efficiency of the Italian plants. And respond to a market that is struggling to rise and is suffering from a volume gap of 20% compared to the pre-Covid period.
The (positive) reactions of the trade unions
The meeting, therefore, seems to have responded to the fears of the trade unions on the possible reduction of the production capacity of the most important plant in Italy in terms of production volumes. Even if the transition times to the new organization are tight. Stellantis would like the new structure to be operational as early as August, with a recovery of the second production area at a later time, for the assembly of the battery packs. The first reactions from the trade unions were however positive, with Francesca Re David secretary of the Fiom which speaks of an “important” meeting which in any case represents a first step to continue to deepen the future of the group’s plants, starting right from Melfi. Appreciation expresses Roberto Benaglia, general secretary of the End Cisl. «Melfi has been identified as the reference plant for the medium cars of the future» adds Benaglia. Look at Rocco’s analysis as well at the other Italian plants Palombella secretary of the Uilm: “As a trade union we asked to arrive at a framework of certainties not only for the workers of Basilicata but for those of all the Italian factories,” he said at the end of the meeting.
A plan for other possible investments
“The meeting at the Ministry of Economic Development – underlines the group in a note – was a strong positive sign of Stellantis’ commitment in Italy, with an even more constructive collaboration that we have long started with the Bet and with all the trade union organizations with which we periodically confront ». A phase of confrontation and closer dialogue therefore opens between Stellantis and the Government itself, also regarding the possible future investments of the Group in Italy to build the third gigafactory after those in France and Germany. The issue was not addressed during the meeting on June 15 but the hypothesis is on the table.
«The challenge that Stellantis has announced to achieve market leadership – underlined Minister Giancarlo Giorgetti – it is demanding and we all share it, the government and the social partners ”. The minister then spoke of the other unknowns of the transition phase, without hiding the concern about the future of the Italian plants: «The Government – he added – must understand how to manage this transition phase in which some supply chains will be privileged and others put at risk. It is important that there are guarantees on employment and that there are no nasty surprises. We are in a very delicate moment, the hope is that the discussion will continue in a positive, transparent and constructive atmosphere ».
For the minister Andrea Orlando the meeting was «a first positive step with the indication of a willingness to make significant investment in the reality of Melfi». Orlando reiterated the Government’s readiness “to support the challenge that Stellantis intends to launch with the transition process”.