Corporate restructuring and labour control: a case study from “G.Vico” Fiat plant

Publication Type:

Conference Paper


Gerpisa colloquium, Krakow (2012)


industrial relations, labour, trade unions, working conditions


The paper examines the evolution of the employment relationships in Fiat Auto after the adoption of the Fiat Group 2010-2014 Business Plan, known as Fabbrica Italia. The analysis assumes that both innovations in work organization and the internationalization of production have had direct effects on exploiting and controlling Fiat labour. Such process is observable along the Fiat production chain, as well as within the Italian manufacturing system: a feature that gives a great relevance to our study for its implications on two different levels – both firm-level and national-level. Indeed, a long and complex labour dispute has started after the presentation of Fabbrica Italia, which reshapes both Italian industrial relations system and workforce employment conditions, aiming at modifying the former centred collective bargaining system. This paper is based on a field study carried out at the “Giambattista Vico” Fiat factory in Pomigliano d’Arco (Naples, Italy) – which is the first plant involved in the Fabbrica Italia project. The fieldwork has been carried out through qualitative interviews with Fiat workers and their trade union representatives; desk research and analysis of corporate and annual reports. The analysis supports the thesis that the corporate restructuring process – led by Fiat management – aims to tilt the power relation against labour: it establishes an increase in workplace flexibility and labour exploitation, as well as an overall worsening of industrial relations.

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