• Feb 5th 2010 at 5:28PM
  • 25
We're not entirely sure what keeping Fiat jobs in Italy has to do with the Catholic Church – other than the fact that the Pope was given a Ducato van from the automaker last year – but we guess that's not really any of our business, right? Whatever the case, Pope Benedict XVI has urged Fiat and the Italian government to keep Italian workers employed. "Everything possible must be done to save jobs that are in danger, especially in areas in crisis such as Termini Imerese," said the Pope.

Last Wednesday, at least two-thirds of Italy's 80,000 Fiat workers (including those for Ferrari and Maserati) went on strike to protest the planned closure of Fiat's Termini Imerese plant. The company's smallest plant, the facility is located on the island of Sicily, and Fiat claims shipping parts to the remote location is too expensive.

In the end, though, it all seems for naught, as Fiat has signaled that it still plans to move forward with the plant's closure. According to the Italian government, there have been seven separate proposals to purchase the plant and convert it for another use, perhaps even as a supermarket or Ikea store.

[Source: NPR, Business Week]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 5 Years Ago
      The Pope is a populist........he has to be, it is his job.

      On the other hand Marchionne has to do his job.
      A car made in Termini Imerense cost $ 1000 more than the ones made in Turin (the difference is double that if made in Poland).
      It just doesn't make any sense, on any level.

      Basically the car parts get by boat at the factory where the car gets assembled and shipped back to mainland.
      Not what I call the most cost efficient process.............
        • 5 Years Ago
        Raises a few:

        Why does each car need to be shipped back to the mainland? What's special about the mainland?

        Why does the factory even need to produce complete vehicles? What else could it produce that would lower costs?

        Why doesn't FIAT retool during the downturn when costs are cheap, instead of closing now, and possibly needing to re-open in the upturn when things are more expensive?
        • 5 Years Ago
        by the same logic. We shouldn't build any cars in the US. Labor is a lot cheaper in Mexico.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Neither the Pope nor Rich have enough information about the logistics of producing car parts to question Marchionne's decisions.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Why can't the Pope auction of some of the art in the Vatican like the pictures,statues, ornaments etc and send the proceeds to help the unemployed workers?
      • 5 Years Ago
      I understand the pope's view that people will suffer, but I also see the company's point of view that it is not as efficient and profitable. Tough Choice.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Talk to the Godfather first, your Holiness.

        He'll make you an offer you cannot refuse.
      • 5 Years Ago
      The Sicilian plant was set up to provide jobs in an otherwise very poor part of Italy. It was never economically viable, and now that the car market is internationally, rather than nationally, competitive the Termini plant is simply unaffordable. Would the Pope rather have Fiat collapse under the weight of uncompetitiveness? Maybe; he's an interfering religious old man who has got God in a dangerous way - like most priests - and just loves telling people what to do, based on his own superstition. He has recently also upset a number of people in Britain by pontificating on secular matters which are no concern of his.

      Most Italians have a very healthy scepticism about religion, and are fully aware of the coerciveness of the Church. Which is why the Pope is now cooped up in the Vatican and no longer has any political jurisdiction in the Republic. My Italian family and friends, although respecting individual priests, when respect is due, have no time for the Papacy itself. But they are northerners, not southerners, who are still very superstitious people.

      The Pope should stick to offering the Mass and genuflecting an front of the High Altars of St Peters and St John Lateran: Italy is a secular republic and needs no interference in the running of it's industry by an ex Hitler youth.
      • 5 Years Ago
      No one cares.
      • 5 Years Ago
      well if the pope was you know... a man with any common sense he'd chip off a little of the 1 trillion they have in net assets. (last data I could find was in 1994 an audit said something along the lines of 800 billion in net assets. Does "god" really need to be sitting on almost a trillion dollars?

      I hate it when religion sticks it's head where it has no business. If they are so worried about "the little guy" why don't they break off a piece of bread from their gigantic loaf, after all isn't that was "god/jesus" was all about? helping others out.

      Hypocrites ... all of them.
        • 5 Years Ago

        I'd like the Catholic Church USA to step up to the plate and start providing a free education to all the kids of the illegal immigrants here in the USA that they constantly advocate for, who are now in the public schools.

        Right now the average k1-k12 Catholic School tuition is over $12K per year, and very few kids get a discount from what I've seen.

        Yep, the Pontiff needs to shut his pie hole and invest some of the Catholic Church's massive bankroll in the Sicilian plant.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Angelo, so riding the backs of US taxpayers is'nt enough now you want the church to support illegals as well? If I ever find out that my church donations are used to help anything other than assisting illegals get back home, all my donations will be given to the minutemen.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Oh hey now you'd need 80 loaves and 48 fish per day to feed those workers. Be fair.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Fiat is on a roll lately in terms of making beautiful automobiles and the Pope wants to screw that up? I want the Vatican to have stained glass windows of Ferrari, Maserati, Alfa Romeo and Abarth 500 and let the grand organ play "Exhaust Notes."
      • 5 Years Ago
      You don't know how influential Pope is in Italy... It's
      word-influence equals that of about... not President but certainly a
      well respected senator in the United States. He is a politician there.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Business leaders are never allowed to be doing a good job because some one will bitch about something and your seeing it here. Good business looks at the numbers and analyzes them, and decides what stays and what goes.

      People want to much of there cake and be able to eat all of it. The lack of business knowledge that people spew when there trying to give advice about a company is astonishing. Unfortunately, Fiat, to make good profits, have to reevaluate what they have and this is one of those situations that suck.

      While i feel sympathy for those who may loose there jobs, in the end it may help save many. From Chrysler to fiat to Ferrari.....and pope...worry about those who have nothing
      • 5 Years Ago
      What does Pope have to do with Italy... perhaps that the Vatican is surrounded by it?
        • 5 Years Ago
        Considering how 90% of Italy is Catholic...I'd say he's a pretty damn important guy there.
      • 5 Years Ago
      @ Xtasi

      We are talking about factories that are both in Italy, except one is on an island.............
      This is not FIAT closing a factory in Italy and opening another in Poland

      The cars made in Termini Imerense cost $ 1000 more not because of the labour costs, but the transport costs since the car has to travel twice by boat, whilst if made in the mainland the boat is out of the equation.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Quote (fixed):

      Which is exactly why so many of us in the US are learning to hate liberals. Imposing socialist beliefs on a freedom-loving public is not earning them any favors.

      And no, hate is no longer too strong a word.

        • 5 Years Ago
        Quote (fixed even better):

        Which is exactly why so many of us in the US are learning to hate conservatives. Imposing religious and totalitarian social beliefs on a freedom-loving public that has traditionally enjoyed free inquiry and association while wasting their tax dollars on pet earmarks, Wall Street giveaways, and failed defense projects, is not earning them any favors.

        And no, hate is no longer too strong a word.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Bloke in a dress telling what we should do?
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