Micron brings in senior exec to resolve Italian labour dispute

Micron has softened its unyielding stance on sacking 40% of its Italian workforce after bringing a senior executive, Brian Henretty, a  lawyer and a Vice President of Micron Italy, into the negotiations.

Previously only low level managers, without the power to make decisions, were used in the talks between Micron, the 419 sacked employees, the unions and the Italian government.

Henretty met Claudio de Vincenti, Undersecretary of State at Italy’s Ministry for Economic Development (MISE) on March 11th.

Next day, at a meeting in Rome at the MISE between Micron, the unions, government officials and workers’ representatives, Micron agreed to reduce the sackings by between 70-100 people by relocating them.

That still leaves between 319 and 349 employees facing the axe.

Micron held out the sweetener of a $20 million investment over two years in the company’s testing facilities in Italy in Micron Italy conditional on a satisfactory resolution of the current dispute.

Micron also agreed to increase the severance pay to those who leave voluntarily from 12 months to 18 months.

At the March 12th meeting the question was raised of whether STMicroelectronics should re-employ the sacked workers.

It was argued at the meeting that the Micron workers were originally employed by ST but were forced out by being compulsorily transferred to the Numonyx flash memory joint venture between ST and Intel when ST wanted to exit the memory business. Numonyx was later sold to Micron.

MISE official Giampiero Castano told the meeting “I can’t force Fiat to hire employees fired from Moto Guzzi”, but union officials pointed out that ST is a semi-public state-owned company and should be subject to the will of the government, while ST has a moral obligation to the sacked Micron workers.

Meanwhile the unions have made contact with Italy’s new Prime Minister Matteo Renzi who has made job protection a top priority for his government.

The next meeting between MISE, unions, Micron and the sacked workers is set for March 19th.

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