Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti signalled Thursday that he was looking for help from trade unions as he tries to dissuade the country's biggest carmaker, Fiat, from closing down some of its factories, dpa reported.
Fiat, which also controls Chrysler in the United States, caused a stir last week when it said it had second thoughts about a 20-billion-euro (26-billion-dollar) investment plan in its Italian factories because of poor sales in recession-hit Europe.
The announcement fuelled fears that Fiat might close one or more of its Italian plants, refocusing its activities towards the more profitable US market. It also prompted Monti to summon the Fiat boss Sergio Marchionne for a meeting on Saturday.
Asked what he could do to convince Marchionne not to downsize, Monti said his government has urged trade unions "to make an effort to improve productivity to increase competitiveness."