Fiat is introducing a new defined contribution scheme for middle management and is seeking approval for it from the pensions supervisory authority in Rome. We hope to get approval for the Fiat Cadres scheme by the end of July," says Gianni Balbo, director of benefits and compensation in Turin.

About 18,000 members will be in the new scheme, which will be on similar lines to its existing DC plan for executives. This dirigenti scheme, with around 3,000 participants, was altered as from the beginning of the year. The main change was in the contribution rate as a result of the new national agreement for dirigenti.

"In Fiat we have been more generous than the agreed national basis in our contribution to this scheme," he says. As it is an existing scheme, dating from 1987, it does not need to be approved by the authorities.

Many Fiat factory floor staff will be in the new national Cometa scheme for the metal working industries. About 130,000 Fiat employees will be covered by this scheme which is expected to have 1m participants nationwide, when it obtains approval later this year."