Antonio Tajani, vice president of the European Commission for Enterprise and Industry, has written to the CEO and board of directors of memory chip company Micron Technology Inc. in Boise, Idaho, asking for a meeting aimed at saving jobs under threat at Micron's Italian subsidiary.
About 419 workers for Micron at multiple sites in Italy face the sack after Micron decided it wanted to trim its Italian operation by about 40% to better align its resources with where it has manufacturing and customers. Negotiations have been taking place but the consultation period, required under Italian law, is due to end April 7, 2014.
The letter, dated March 31, 2014, asks Micron to defer any layoffs and calls for a meeting between Micron staff and the European Commission within the next two weeks.
Tajani concludes the letter by saying:
I would therefore like to propose to you a meeting with my staff and your staff in the upcoming two weeks in order to understand the reasons that take you to this decision. We would furthermore be glad to explain to you all funding programmes that could make the continuation of the activities even more convenient, while preserving the current level of employment. In the meantime I would be grateful if you could defer on the measure to reduce the number of Micron Europe's employees.
Elsewhere in the letter Tajani points out that the European Commission has a budget of €150 billion (US$207 billion) to spend on industrial policy over the period 2014 to 2020. He adds that Micron has benefitted in the past from European Commission funds and has prospered, managing to increase its sales by 120% in 2013, which has made the decision to downsize in Europe hard to understand.
Tajani met with a group of Micron workers on February 26 during a visit to 3SUN Srl and pledged to support them. 3SUN is the joint venture formed by STMicroelectronics NV, Sharp Corp., and Enel Green Power SpA to manufacture triple-junction thin-film photovoltaic panels at what had been ST's M6 facility in Catania, Italy.
This article originally appeared on EE Times Europe.