THE recent signing of Cristiano Ronaldo by the Juventus football club makes for eye-watering reading. Leaving aside the $177m transfer fee paid to Real Madrid, the 33 year old has inked a four year contract worth $47.5m a year. That’s $913,000 per week. Shares in Juventus spiked by 40 percent at the announcement of the transfer but the world’s most famous soccer star’s move to Italy hasn’t been well received by employees at Fiat’s Melfi plant. In fact, they’ve decided to strike.
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The reason why is because Juventus is 64 percent owned by Exor, the Agnelli and Elkan family’s holding company – a holding company which also owns 30 percent of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles. The total sum they’ll shell out over four years for the services of the prancing Portuguese show pony is over half a billion dollars including tax contribution on the initial transfer fee.
If you were an FCA employee on the Fiat 500X and Jeep Renegade lines having had your pay frozen in the economically impoverished southern Italian province of Potenza, that would probably make tough reading over breakfast. Thousands of FCA assembly line staff have been on a state-sponsored layoff scheme due to a lack of new products, a situation that FCA has vowed to end by the end of 2022.
The USB union has mobilised Melfi’s workers, with a statement that claims “it is unacceptable that while the (owners) ask workers of FCA ... for huge economic sacrifices for years, the same decide to spend hundreds of millions of euros for the purchase of a player.”
The strike will be held late on Sunday to early Tuesday, the independent union added. How successful it will be is open to conjecture. USB only speaks for a minority of Melfi’s staff but it should be enough to bring production to a halt between from 10pm on Sunday, July 15 through to 6am on Tuesday July 17.
“The owners should invest in car models that guarantee the future of thousands of people rather than enriching only one,” the union said in a closing statement.