Strikes in UK car factories are pretty rare these days, but in Italy Fiat unions are fighting each other for the right to strike first.

In what could be a story from an old comedy show (Not the Nine o'Clock News, perhaps?), militant Fiat Trade Union FIOM is complaining that it cannot bring its workers out on strike – because car delivery drivers are already on strike. The result is that FIOM members are laid off at home, and so cannot get into to the factory to call a strike.

A FIOM spokesperson told industry website,, "Many Fiat plants are not working, so Fiat members can't strike. They are at home so they can't do any strike."

He also took a swipe at the striking truck drivers for not being genuine members of the proletariat, by dismissing, "the so-called truck strike," made up of "little entrepreneurs," in a tone that suggested small businessmen were only one rung above paedophiles.

Meanwhile Fiat is warning that the situation has reached "breaking point," with strikers burning cars and intimidating non-striking drivers. With Fiat losing money in Europe, and its boss warning that Fiat could close Italian factories if productivity does not improve, there could be a major confrontation brewing.