Soccer superstar Cristiano Ronaldo is set to earn $131.5 million with the Italian club Juventus over the next four years. It is safe to assume that most of the people who work for Italian automaker Fiat Chrysler will make significantly less money over the same period of time.
In addition, thousands of Fiat Chrysler employees have taken part in state-sponsored temporary layoff plans that started years ago and are expected to run through at least 2022, which happens to be when Ronaldo’s contract with Juventus ends.
Fiat Chrysler and Juventus are both partially owned by Exor, the investment holding company of Italy’s Agnelli family. Exor owns approximately 30% of Fiat Chrysler and 64% of Juventus, although the companies are separate entities.
A small union that represents some of Fiat Chrysler’s employees isn’t happy with the disparity between the earnings of the automaker’s workers and the soccer star. The USB union has announced a 44-hour walkout at the car company’s plant in Melfi, a city about 100 miles east of Naples, starting Sunday.
“It is unacceptable that while the [owners] ask workers of FCA ... for huge economic sacrifices for years, the same decide to spend hundreds of millions of euros for the purchase of a player,” the union said in a statement.
It added: “The owners should invest in car models that guarantee the future of thousands of people rather than enriching only one.”
The protest’s impact likely will be limited, according to the BBC. The Fiat Chrysler plant in Melfi is one of seven such facilities run by the company in Italy, and the USB represents only a handful of employees there.