Fiat workers in the Italian town of Melfi on Monday protested the over $100 million transfer fee paid for Cristiano Ronaldo’s move to Juventus by the Agnelli family, which owns both a percentage of the car manufacturer and a stake in the football club.
But according to an ESPN report, only about five of 1,700 workers expected for Monday’s shift at the Fiat Chrysler plant participated in the protest.
“The protest actions promoted in recent days over football were a resounding flop,” a Fiat spokesman said.
The protesters say they are opposed to the owners spending such an exorbitant amount of money on a footballer, while workers are forced to make sacrifices just to make ends meet. Particularly, they add, when the car manufacturer has already welched on several promises to improve workplace conditions.
“It is unacceptable that, while for years you have continued to ask FCA [Fiat Chrysler Automobiles] workers to make enormous sacrifices on an economic level, the company spends hundreds of millions of euros on the purchase of a footballer,” a statement from the workers read. “And, while the workers and their families tighten up the belts more and more the company decides to invest on a human resource for so much money. Is all of this right? Is it right that one single person can earn millions and yet thousands of families don’t even get to the middle of the month?”
Meanwhile, Fiat officials countered that scant participation in the strike shows that it was promoted by groups that were not entirely representative of the workforce. Unions representing the majority of the plant’s workers had reportedly rejected the strike, which was supposed to take place between late Sunday and early Tuesday, calling it “mere advertising.”