Tavares di Stellantis launches the fascination offensive with the Italian trade unions

MILAN (Reuters) – Stellantis CEO Carlos Tavares is visiting the group’s Italian plants, getting off to a good start with local unions as the fledgling carmaker seeks over 5 billion euros (6.1 billion dollars) at year of savings.

The fourth largest carmaker in the world was officially created on Saturday from the merger of Fiat Chrysler (FCA) and Peugeot-maker PSA, with the former head of PSA Tavares becoming CEO of the group.

FCA and PSA have pledged to make the savings without closing any plants, and Tavares also pledged not to cut jobs earlier this week.

With a gesture welcomed by the Italian unions, the CEO is visiting some of the group’s main productions sites in the countryside: Wednesday Mirafiori in Turin, Thursday Melfi south and Friday center Cassino.

Marco Lomio of the UILM union of the Basilicata region, where Melfi is located, said that Tavares took the time to listen and answer all the questions.

“Never before has a CEO sat down to answer questions from representatives at such a grassroots level, “he said.

FCA CEO “Mike Manley had never visited us at the plant. Tavares appears to be more in line with the style of former CEO Sergio Marchionne, ”added Lomio.

Earlier this week, Tavares held a virtual meeting with the leaders of the national unions of Italian metalworkers. The meeting was scheduled shortly after it was requested and was seen as an “act of respect” by Francesca Re David, who leads the left-wing metalworking union FIOM.

“It is important that he met all the unions and that he stressed the need to invest in the intellect, creativity and skills of Italian workers,” he said.

Italy and France are the two main production poles of Stellantis in Europe, but the Italian unions fear that after the merger the center of gravity of the group could move towards Paris.

Reporting by Giulio Piovaccari. Editing by Mark Potter