National Strike Day For Italian Microelectronics Industry

Italy is to have a National Microelectronics Strike Day on Friday to protest against Micron Technology’s attempt to sack 40% of its Italian workforce.

It is expected that the action will affect all microelectronics companies in a Italy, including STMicroelectronics. The National Strike Day follows street protests in Rome and Catania.

A meeting last Friday between the local Micron managers, workers, the unions, Ministry of Economic Development (MISE) officials and representatives of local institutions failed to make any progress on the issues of severance pay, relocation or the job security of the remaining 609 employees.

The principal board members of Micron Italy –  the President of  Micron Italy, Scott DeBoer, and  the Vice-President Brian Hemetty  – have not participated in  any of the meetings concerning the lay-offs at the Ministry of Economic Development with unions and other institutions, despite being repeatedly requested to attend the talks by the staff of the ministry. The talks have been delegated to junior executives without the power to make any decisions.

Micron has 1028 employees in Italy and has said it will sack 419.

A meeting at MISE is planned for later this week which Micron board members are expected to attend and spell out their plans for both the 419 sacked employees and the 609 who will remain.

Severance packages and relocation options, which have still not been resolved, are expected to be discussed.

Micron’s actions in Italy have provoked support for the sacked workers from the President of the Italian Republic, the Mayors of Catania and Messina and former ST CEO Pasquale Pistorio. And the EC authorities hold a watching brief.

Tags: italy, microelectronics companies, Microelectronics Industry Italy, micron technology, National Strike Day

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15 Comments

  1. david manners
    March 11, 2014 13:58

    What a very sorry tale, Graham. You’d think, though, with this new emphasis on European fab with the 10/100/20 programme to double Europe’s output of ICs, there’d be a realisation that they need to keep skilled fab workers. EC largesse might help in this instance. Time to get a manufacturing proposal in to the EC.

  2. Graham
    March 11, 2014 12:01

    Remember there are another group of Micron employees now under the esteemed leadership of L Foundry. The future looks very bleak for them once the supply agreement runs out. L Foundries record looks second rate, acquired Renesas Germany site, supply agreement ran out, BANKRUPT. Acquitted Atmel Rousset fab, supply agreement ran out, BANKRUPTCY. Acquired Micron Italian fab, when supply agreement runs out, we can only guess!

  3. micron-ex
    March 05, 2014 14:50

    sorry but i dont quite agree with several comments … nevertheless, friday’s strike is just a month before the deadline hits the micron employee struggling to resist and see some sort of light down that darken tunnel …
    however, there’s no need to call in other foreign, if any ,semicon companies who might be interested in hyper-qualified personnel available …
    WHY ? because just right ahead down the road,and not around the corner, you have STmicro with +/- 6000 employees in agrate ( milan ) and another +/- 4000 in catania and less than 1000 in naples… STmicro from where all these top grade engineers and technicians come from and who created this muck to begin with ….

  4. david manners
    March 05, 2014 15:11

    You’re doing the right thing, micron-ex, if you don’t make a fuss in the modern world you get trampled on. I expect Micron thought they could push this through with no fuss. But you’ve created a fuss and it was the brave and right thing to do. Now, everyone’s watching.

  5. Mike Bryant
    March 05, 2014 10:12

    Fabs have moved on a long way from the 90s David. Nowadays most people at a TSMC fab have a PhD. Even back then it was hard to staff the fabs, nowadays I suspect it would be impossible.

    However I agree the Japanese did show us we can do normal mass production with the Toyota car plant leading the way and now some of the most productive vehicle manufacturing is in the UK.

    Unfortunately this hasn’t been repeated in consumer goods which is something that needs to be addressed rather than this constant looking for ‘profitable niches’ Euro industry seems to be currently infatuated with.

  6. Micron-Employee
    March 05, 2014 08:55

    David I cannot imagine that there are no other semiconductor companies interested in 400 engineers with 10-15 years seniority. Why they should not invest in Italy?

  7. david manners
    March 05, 2014 12:59

    I agree, Micron-Employee, before Micron started this ill-advised lay-off strategy you’d have thought they’d try and find someone to take on the group. You’d think Samsung, Hynix and Toshiba would all be interested. But maybe Micron didn’t want the group to go to their competitors.

  8. DontAgree
    March 05, 2014 07:39

    Just a gloomy thought … I read that Italian law allows for 40% lay-offs max, which is what Micron is therefore doing … but with this strike and other actions no doubt on the way Micron Italy is quickly going bankrupt … perhaps the whole game plan from the start? Naaah they can’t be that devious …. or can they? Let’s just assume for now that they are in way over their head and don’t have an exit strategy.

  9. david manners
    March 05, 2014 12:54

    I think that may be true, DontAgree, the handling of this thing has been so maladroit that you suspect they stumbled into this without doing any proper planning.

  10. Mike Bryant
    March 04, 2014 20:56

    I think you are mixing production with R&D there David. Fujitsu, Siemens and LG still have large R&D groups in the UK doing great work. But the UK cost structures and personnel aspirations make mass wafer production on a TSMC level simply unachieveable in the UK, as I suspect may also be the case in Italy.

    But as far as I’m aware the Micron people are R&D types who are in short supply and I’m surprised nobody isn’t looking at setting up something to utilise those skills. In the old days it would have been Broadcom but they have now peaked so one has to look at the Asian companies such as Mediatek as the target.

    The Italian government is getting out of state support for ST but I don’t know if they are looking at a UK SME support model or not. Certainly there are areas Italy could address and be just as successful as the UK or Israel are.

    But any strikes are simply going to scare anyone off !

  11. david manners
    March 04, 2014 22:42

    Well when you think about it the Japanese had a good go at it in the UK, Mike, NEC even built a second fab at Livingston to make DRAM, so they must have been happy with the first one. And Fujitsu had a long innings at Newton Aycliffe. As with other industries (cars, TVs, VCRS etc), the Japanese showed us (possibly to our surprise) that it is possible to mass-manufacture cost-effectively in the UK.

  12. engaged participant
    March 04, 2014 14:06

    Let’s look at the strike day from another angle. The national strike day for Italian microelectronics industry will bring the focus on the short term politics that the Italian government is leading for that industry sector. We need to have a solid national industrial plan on microelectronics to attract foreigner companies to invest here!

    We are a plumed community of engineers, we have the skills; we have the energy, are passionate and creative; we need a solid infrastructure to operate!

    On the other hands, this strike is not causing any work disruption in Micron Italy, most of the activities are already being transferred somewhere else… Sigh!

  13. david manners
    March 04, 2014 15:36

    Well Yes, engaged participant, you obviously agree with Mike here. In the UK, in the 1980s and 90s, we had an inward investment policy of encouraging foreign semiconductor companies to build factories in the UK and attracted NEC, Fujitsu, Siemens, DEC, LG, Hyundai and others. Where are they now? All gone. Foreigners come and foreigners go and that is the nature of foreigners.
    If you’re investing in companies, it’s more productive to invest in your local companies – that’s the lesson the UK learnt.

  14. Mike Bryant
    March 04, 2014 07:56

    Whilst the manners and actions of Micron’s management are in no way endorsable, one has to wonder if the damage this strike will do is far worse. Would you look at investing nto a country where a whole industry goes on strike ?

    With ST a spent force, I would have thought Italian politicians would be better off trying to attract new companies to invest there rather than their current actions.

  15. david manners
    March 04, 2014 08:04

    You’re absolutely right, Mike, it’s horribly destructive. But in the face of a 100% intransigent Micron management what else can labour do?

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