Italian unions and the international IndustriALL Global Union have undertaken a series of protests in support of workers for Micron in Italy, which is facing the loss of 419 jobs, or about 40% of the Italian workforce.
Negotiations are taking place between the company and union representatives and up to 100 jobs could be saved, but the terms being offered by Micron are not being received well, a source familiar with talks said. The consultation period, required under Italian law, is due to end April 7, 2014.
The threatened job cuts are the result of a reorganization plan announced internally by Micron in August 2013 intended to reduce Micron's global work force by less than 5% through the end of fiscal 2014. However, the cuts are falling particularly hard on the Italian workforce. Immediately prior to the formation of the internal plan, Micron announced the sale of its wafer fab in Avezzano, Italy, to LFoundry GmbH and Micron has said that one purpose of the reorganization is to align its resources with where it has manufacturing sites and customers.
Italy's FIM, FIOM, and UILM unions organized a series of strikes and protest actions across Italy and Jyrki Raina, general secretary of the IndustriALL Global Union, has written a letter of expressing solidarity with union actions and the Micron workers. IndustriALL is a global union federation founded in 2012 that represents more than 50 million people from 140 countries working in the mining, energy and manufacturing sectors.
The unions are looking for Micron to cancel or reduce the job cuts and for support from STMicroelectronics NV, where many of the workers were employed before their jobs were moved to Numonyx NV and then to Micron. Workers are also saying that European Commission funds that are used to stimulate collaborative R&D projects should be used to save the jobs of the Micron Italy workers.
The message from IndustriALL to the general secretaries of the FIM, FIOM, and UILM unions, dated March 19, said:
We deplore the company's intransigent stance in implementing a restructuring plan, without any consultation with the unions, which involves redundancies. In addition, we find it unacceptable that the company is not even considering an alternative to the restructuring plan.
Up to 100 positions could be saved through relocating those jobs, according to a source, who communicated with EE Times Europe on condition of anonymity. However, the union finds the terms unacceptable because at least half the job relocations would be abroad Germany, Singapore, or the United States, and Micron is insisting that they would be without salary adjustment, the source said.
Micron is offering up to 18 months' salary as severance pay, but this is not finding favor with the union, the source said. This is because severance in Italy has always been substantially higher, typically twice as much, the source said.
Finally, Micron is holding out the carrot of $20 million of investment in Italy over the next two years subject to the results of the lay-off negotiations, the source said. The source added that the union has reacted angrily to this proposal.
A meeting between company, unions, and government is scheduled for April 1, the source said.
This story originally appeared on EE Times Europe.