WARSAW Fiat Auto Poland, the country's largest car manufacturer and a unit of Italy's Fiat FIA.MI, plans to cut 1,500 jobs, or around a third of its workforce due to falling demand for its cars in Europe, the company said on Friday.
Output in Poland will be below 350,000 cars this year and will drop to below 300,000 in 2013, compared to over 600,000 in 2009, the company said.
The announcement comes at a time when Poland's economy, which went through the global economic crisis in the past four years relatively unscathed, has started to slow sharply.
Economic growth slowed to 1.4 percent of gross domestic product in the third quarter, while the country's unemployment rate is estimated to have risen to 12.9 percent at the end of November from 12.5 percent in the prior month.
The number of Fiat workers that will lose their jobs will be known after negotiations with trade unions that have started on Friday and are due to finish in the first half of January, a spokesman for Fiat Auto Poland said.
The plant located in Tychy, south of Poland, employed 4.967 workers at the end of October.
(Reporting by Maciej Onoszko; Editing by Greg Mahlich)