Union leaders of metalworkers in Italy have called for a four-hour strike overlapping the Italy- Germany semifinal in the European Championship on Thursday, and Fiat's crying foul.

The Italian automaker said in a statement that the choice of the timing leaves ''no doubt'' that ''watching a football game was more important than going to work'' for the union.

The strike at the Sevel plant in southeast Italy was officially called to protest Italian government labor policies, including a just-approved law to make it easier to fire workers.