Ecological transition - In Bari the sector is suffering, but positive signals are coming from Pirelli

In recent months, the Bari automotive sector has done nothing but demonstrate how heavy the transition to electric mobility is: the restructuring programs launched by Bosch and from Marelli have increased the risk of industrial desertification for an area capable, starting from the 90s of the last century, of conquering a leading role on a global level thanks to diesel engines and, in particular, to common rail technology. Today the situation does not bode well, but there is a positive signal: the Pirelliindeed, has announced new investments and hires able to offset, albeit to a small extent, the many negative news.

Bosch redundancies. The plant of the German multinational, located in Modugno, on the outskirts of the Apulian capital, has been for years the symbol of the common rail and the boom of “clean” diesel: thanks to technology, conceived by Fiat but “industrialized” by Bosch itself, the factory has grown to employ over 2,500 employees. However, the collapse in sales of diesel vehicles (also, if not above all, due to the demonization following the dieselgate) resulted in a sharp downsizing of the staff, down to 1,700 units and now the subject of a new redundancy program. Bosch has announced 700, but according to the unions they could reach up to 1,300 given that 80% of the current positions are linked to internal combustion engines and is therefore jeopardized by the ban on the sale of traditional engines proposed by the European Commission. For now, the new renovation has been put on standby, pending the revival program promised by the Germans.

The Marelli case. And neither is the fate of Marelli di Bari rosy, where a substantial share of the 550 redundancies planned throughout Italy is concentrated. The Corbetta-based company has, however, reached an agreement with the unions to alleviate the consequences of the restructuring plan: the cuts, which will affect a large part of the first managerial line, will be carried out through voluntary and incentivized departures and early retirement and will be compensated by hires for a ratio of one to three. In addition, training and investment plans for 28 million euros were guaranteed, approximately one third of the 77 million allocated overall for Italy. So a positive sign, even if in recent weeks rumors have sprung up about new redundancies linked to the unsafe financial situation of CK Holdings, the Japanese holding born from the merger between Calsonic Kansei and Magneti Marelli.

Pirelli invests. In this situation, Pirelli’s announcement about the opening, right in Bari, of a new center for the development of software and digital solutions goes against the trend: the project, for which an application will be presented to access program contracts. of the Puglia Region, foresees an investment of 9 million euros by June 2024 and 50 hires by 2025 between recent graduates and managers specialized in disciplines such as computer science, software engineering, data science, artificial intelligence, machine learning and smart manufacturing. The new professional figures will join the approximately 160 people who today work in the Pirelli Digital team in Italy and will therefore strengthen software development activities, which are now increasingly strategic for the future of the Bicocca multinational. For the new hub, Pirelli intends to make use of specific collaboration agreements with the University of Bari and with the Polytechnic of Bari, demonstrating how important it is to invest in research, innovation and the development of new skills to face a transition from otherwise “catastrophic” effects for the automotive supply chain.

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