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Cassinetta di Biandronno

"Husqvarna is a case of industrial looting"

After the shocking Ktm announcement to go out of business, all two hundred workers in the company have made a trade union meeting just outside their gates. Cartosio (Fiom), "Our main aim is to empty it. There is nothing left for the property but the real estate area and above all a prestigious brand"
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"The Germans gave us to the Austrians and they fired us". So a worker of Husqvarna sums up the situation that she and the other 211 workers are going through these days, after the Ktm announcement to ask for a special redundancy fund because of the closing-down. One year of social safety net, which will start at the end of May, and then everybody at home and just a selling point with about thirty people working will be what remains from the whole plant that produced motorcycles from 1999 in Cassinetta di Biandronno.

The question that the workers (assembled in convention outside the gates of the company) ask is always the same, why did the Ktm buy last 11 March from the BMW an enterprise that had been going down for three years by now, if it have to go out of business right now? “It is a case of industrial looting,” says Nino Cartosio part of the Fiom CGIL ( the union trade Federazione Impiegati Operai Metallurgici of Confederazione Generale Italiana del Lavoro), “our main aim is empty this company, there is nothing left for the property but the real estate area and above all a prestigious brand. Furthermore, it is very likely BMW has also left a few million Euros, although there is no real assurance of that".

After the Hasqvarna business deal, Ktm acquires a slice of market, first owned by its competitor, even if it doesn’t explain the latest movements made by the company.

Cartosio takes as an example the case MVAgusta:”When there was the passage from Harley Davidson to the Castiglioni group”, the trade unionist explains,  “a great rebalancing work has been made because that company was losing 30 million euros a year”. Well, the new Husquarna’s property was not interested to relaunch the company, despite the factories of Cassinetta di Biandronno are a jewell.

“There is a structural problem,” adds Flavio Cervellino, from Fim Cisl, “in the warehouses there are 12 thousands unsold motorbikes, and is clear the the problem is connected to the product, but the owners are not interested in investing in research and developing and so they don’t consider alternative solutions to the selling of the activity”.

Husquarna has different problems that the analysis points out unforgivingly: 128 millions euros were lost in 2010, 30 millions in 2011 and 24 in 2012. But such a terrible result is not only connected to a product that doesn’t catch on the market. “In this company,” Cartosio underlines,  “we spent on consulting advice double the whole payment for the workers”. Unfortunately Husquarna is not a consultant advice society.

Another disastrous chapter is the supply. Before the rising of the German BMW a great part of the suppliers were Italians, at least 80%, companies posted along the pedemontana area. “With the introduction of the street models,” ends Fabio Murazzi, in charge of the orders and Fiom delegate,  “supplies moved outside Italy, favouring especially Germans and Austrians. Buying some simple screws abroad became an extra cost, and so there is for every piece. Besides, BMW forced us to assemble the Kymco’s engines, a Taiwan company, to avoid penalities, so we represented for the group a saving for the cost connected to other companies”.

Translated by Cumbo & Tagger (Reviewed by Prof. Robert Clarke)
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