Strike At Italian Auto-Parts Supplier Threatens Production At Fiat

Workers protesting proposed restructuring plan.

MILAN, Italy (AP) - A strike by workers at a parts supplier forced Fiat to suspend production at three plants Tuesday, and the automaker threatened legal action to recover damages.

The strike at several CF Gomma plants in Italy threatens production not only at Fiat Auto, but also at its Iveco truck division, Fiat SPA said in a statement. CF Gomma is a supplier of auto and industrial components, including air springs, break hoses and car body sealings.

Production was halted Tuesday afternoon at Fiat's Sevel Val di Sangro plant, which produces the Ducato, its Mirafiori plant, which produces the Punto, Idea, Musa and Grande Punto models, and its Pomigliano plant, which makes Alfa Romeos.

''The parts manufactured by CF Gomma are mounted on numerous Fiat Auto and Iveco models and, consequently, if this condition persists, the situation of the group plants in Italy and abroad may further worsen,'' the statement said.

Fiat was considering legal action against CF Gomma, its stockholders and directors to cover any damages arising from the strike, the statement said.

Unions called the strike July 3 to express concerns that a restructuring plan, to be decided Wednesday by a commercial court in France, could undermine production.

Workers are concerned that the court may force CF Gomma to sell plants in Poland and France, which would hurt the group's revenues and threaten jobs, a company official told The Associated Press.

The CF Gomma group employs 5,000 people at 11 plants in Italy, France, Germany, Poland, Turkey, the United States and Brazil, according to the group's Web site. Customers include DaimlerChrysler AG, Ford Motor Co., General Motors Corp., Toyota Motor Corp. and Volkswagen AG.

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