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Fiat Chrysler to start three Italian sites immediately after lockdown ends: union

FILE PHOTO: New Fiat 500 electric cars are displayed at a Fiat Chrysler event held to unveil its first electric model, in Milan, Italy, March 4, 2020. REUTERS/Flavio Lo Scalzo

MILAN (Reuters) – Fiat Chrysler (FCHA.MI) aims to restart operations at three Italian sites as soon as the government lifts coronavirus restrictions on manufacturing, a union representative said on Thursday, adding unions would monitor health precautions.

Despite Italy’s lowest death toll from coronavirus in six days on Wednesday, Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said a national lockdown in place since March 9, and due to expire on Friday, would be extended until at least April 13.

The lockdown measures include a freeze on all non-essential economic activity, including car production.

Gianluca Ficco, a representative of the UILM metal workers’ union, said unions had started talks with Fiat Chrysler (FCA) to make sure all health and security requirements were met in factories, with a view to resuming operations after the lockdown.

“At the moment the date we’re looking at is April 14,” he said.

The sites would be the assembly lines for Jeep’s Compass and new hybrid models in Melfi in southern Italy; Atessa’s plant making light commercial vehicles in central Italy; and preparatory operations for the new electric 500 in Turin’s Mirafiori factory, he said.

A spokesman for FCA confirmed on Thursday that, if the government allowed production to restart after April 13, those three operations would be the group’s priority.

Last week, before the national lockdown was extended, the carmaker had told unions it would have been ready to resume the same three operations on April 6 if the government had given its go-ahead.

Reporting by Giulio Piovaccari; Editing by Mark Potter

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