Milan/Lisbon: Fiat factory workers in Italy can think of a few things they’d rather see their owner spend $130 million on than Cristiano Ronaldo.
A Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV union in the south of the country called for a strike to protest the purchase of star player by Juventus Football Club SpA, which like the carmaker is owned by the Agnelli family. That’s money that could have been used for job-boosting investments like making better cars, the union said.
“It’s unacceptable that, while FCA and CNHI workers continue to make huge economic sacrifices, the company spends hundreds of millions of euros on the purchase of a player," union USB Lavoro Privato said in a statement. It’s calling for a strike the Melfi plant in southern Italy between 10pm on 15 July and 6pm on 17 July.
Spanish football giant Real Madrid agreed on 10 July to transfer five-time Ballon d’Or winner Ronaldo to Juventus after the player asked to leave. Juventus will pay €100 million ($117 million) for the move and another €12 million in additional fees to sign the player to a four-year contract, the club said in a statement.
The Agnelli family, which has owned Turin-based Juventus for more than 90 years, controls Ferrari NV and Fiat Chrysler through its holding company, Exor NV, which owns 64% of Juventus.
Fiat Chrysler, whose Jeep logo is plastered across Juventus’ black-and-white-striped jerseys, could get a huge advertising boost in the deal, according to analysts. If Ronaldo can lead Juventus to the UEFA Champions League final, the media exposure for that year alone would be worth about $58.3 million, according to Eric Smallwood, president of Apex Marketing Group Inc.
“We’re all employees of the same owner, but in such a period of enormous social difficulty this difference in treatment cannot and must not be accepted," the union said. “The company should invest in car models that guarantee the futures of thousands of people, rather than enriching only one."