Italian employees of Indústrias Romi SA — the manufacturer of the Sandretto line of injection presses — staged protests at Plast 2012 in Milan.
Around 20 employees occupied Romi's exhibit on opening day, May 8, in protest at a restructuring plan that may lead to the Brazilian firm closing Sandretto factories in Italy and moving production to Brazil.
The protestors returned May 9 and stood in the aisles wearing T-shirts with the words: “Si Made in Italy, No Made in Brasile.”
The protests were peaceful.
Romi began talks March 16 with the workers' union and public administration groups regarding the restructuring of the Italian business. Since then, machine production has continued but the union has implemented an overtime ban.
Monica Romi Zanatta, international sales manager, confirmed that Romi is planning to downsize its Italian operation but he would not confirm that the move involves closing its Italian plants and transferring production to Brazil.
“I can't confirm details because of the consultation,” she said in an interview at Plast 2012.
The company owns two production facilities in Italy: the Grugliasco plant assembles injection molding machines, the Pont-Canavese plant does machining and chemical treatment.
The plants form part of the assets acquired by Romi in 2008, when it acquired Sandretto Industrie srl, which had been under government control for two years.
Protestors handed out leaflets that claimed Romi has been using a government redundancy fund to pay salaries, and that it has not made investments it agreed to in 2008.
Romi Zanatta said the company is “comfortable with the agreements on the investments we have made.”
The protestors also claim the number of employees has fallen from 300 in 2008, when Indústrias Romi took over Sandretto, to 165 now.
Unable to confirm those numbers, Romi Zanatta said all staff cuts have been voluntary since 2008. She stressed that the group as a whole is growing.
In January Romi acquired Burkhardt + Weber Fertigungssysteme GmbH of Reutlingen, Germany, which manufactures CNC machines.
The group is also expanding its sales operation. Marcel Machado, sales and technical manager, has been named to head Romi Sandretto's global exports, with support from the firm's operation in the United Kingdom, where he is based.