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Fiorucci crisis: an entire industry on its knees

Carla Ciocci (Ugl) explains to EFA News the stakes of the trade union battle

The investment funds - Navigator Group and White Park Cap. - that currently own the historic cured meats company have promised a relaunch but, at the moment, the only prospect is the dismissal of 200 employees.

A script - unfortunately - already seen in the Italian agro-industrial panorama of the last twenty years. A once thriving company is taken over by foreign groups, who promise a relaunch without keeping their promises. Indeed, almost always to the detriment of the staff. Cesare Fiorucci Spa risks losing 200 employees from the Pomezia Santa Palomba (Rome) plant, following the restructuring plan arranged by the German Navigator Group and the Irish White Park Capital, the two investment funds that recently took over 100% of the company .

The new leaders of Fiorucci have announced a "long-term relaunch plan aimed at bringing the historic Italian brand in the cured meats sector back to the level of profitability suited to its potential. The first step of this ambitious growth path - we read in a note - will be characterized by a significant organizational change of the company structure, followed by a substantial renewal of the processes and a technological modernization of the plants".

A line fully embraced by the CEO of Fiorucci Claudio Rustioni, who indicates as the "sole objective" that of "ensuring that the history of our group continues, that the factories remain in Italy and continue to generate well-being in their territory of reference. It is essential - he underlines - that the company recovers productivity and competitiveness to face an increasingly competitive market. The actions we have planned are essential and can no longer be postponed if we want to safeguard the future of the company, the protection of workers and the quality of the products".

The unions have a completely different opinion, worried about the employment consequences and the negative impact on related industries. "The workers are disconcerted by this mismanagement over the last few years with this new ownership which does not differ from what has been done in the past. They want to act on costs by sending staff home without however having the certainty of investments that guarantee the future of the plant", Carla Ciocci , deputy secretary of Ugl Agroalimentare, who at the end of last week announced the trade union agitation, told EFA News (read EFA News). Therefore, a script already seen in past years is proposed, made up of "vague investment promises", when the union had requested "an industrial plan that would provide certainty regarding the continuation of the activity but to date we have no type of guarantee on what the future of the Santa Palomba plant will be between now and the next ten years".

"When the company staff is halved - continues Ciocci - I wonder how we can continue to produce and attack the market, given that the size of the plant and production capacity are significantly reduced". On the day the letter opening the procedure arrives from the company, the 45 days of discussion will be defined within the union, however we are already looking to the next stage of the dispute with the Region or with the ministries. "It is certainly not an easy situation, also because the company population is not very young, we have many workers in that middle-aged range, which is difficult to relocate".

It's not all. The consequences of the restructuring of the Pomezia Santa Palomba plant also risk impacting the related industries, in particular the "suppliers", Ciocci further explains. "The local economy will have knock-on effects on the road traffic that arrives here, with all the loading and unloading operations. We have a whole series of references that are now put in danger. The procedure also impacts the white-collar population, who over the years had never been touched and which will now be reduced by 50%", concludes the deputy secretary of Ugl Agroalimentare.

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EFA News - European Food Agency