MILAN, ITALY (May 10, 12:15 p.m. ET) — Italian employees of injection molding machine company Romi Sandretto have been staging a protest at the company's stand at the Plast 2012 exhibition taking place in Milan this week.
Around 20 employees occupied the stand on the opening day, May 8, in protest at a restructuring plan that may lead to the company's Brazilian parent, Indústrias Romi SA, closing factories in Italy and moving production to Brazil. The protestors returned on May 9 and stood in the aisles wearing T-shirts with the words: “Si Made in Italy, No Made in Brasile.”
The protests have been peaceful.
Industrias Romi started a consultation on March 16 with the workers' union and public administration bodies with regard to restructuring the Italian business. Since then, machine production has continued but the union has implemented an overtime ban.
Monica Romi Zanatta, manager of the international sales department, confirmed that Industrias Romi is planning to downsize its Italian operation but would not confirm that this involves closure of plants in Italy and transfer of production to Brazil.
“I can't confirm details because of the consultation,” she told European Plastics News in an interview at the company's stand at Plast.
The company owns two production facilities in Italy: the Pont Canavese plant carries out machining and chemical treatment; assembly of injection molding machines takes place at the Grugliasco plant.
These plants form part of the assets acquired by Industrias Romi in 2008, when it reached an agreement with the Italian Ministry of Labor to take Sandretto out of administration.
In a leaflet handed out by the protestors, they claim Industrias Romi has only been using a government redundancy fund to pay salaries, and has not made investments it agreed in 2008.
Romi Zanatta denied this claim. She said: “We are comfortable with the agreements on the investments we have made.”
The protestors also say that the number of employees has fallen from 300 when Industrias Romi took over in 2008 to 165 now. Romi Zanatta was not able to confirm these numbers, but she said all staff cuts have been voluntary since 2008.
Romi Zanatta stressed that the group as a whole is growing. In January it acquired German company Burkhardt & Weber, which makes CNC machines.
The group is also expanding its sales operation. Marcel Machado, sales and technical manager, has recently been chosen to head Romi Sandretto's global exports, with support from the company's operation in the United Kingdom, where he is based.