ROME (Pakistan Point News / Sputnik - 10th September, 2021) Hundreds of employees of the Italian state-owned airline Alitalia, set to cease operation and be replaced by Italia Trasporto Aereo (ITA), have rallied at a central square in Rome to demand that the government cancels re-certification of the company's staff and extends the emergency payment funding, a Sputnik correspondent reported.
Alitalia, which was set up in 1946, has teetered on the edge of bankruptcy since the global financial crisis of 2008. In mid-July, the European Union and the Italian government have completed long-term negotiations on the situation with the airline by creating an agreement under which Alitalia reincorporates into debt-free ITA, set to take over its assets and be independent from its predecessor company.
Emma, one of Alitalia's workers participating in the rally told Sputnik that she and her colleagues "found themselves in a shameful situation" regarding the re-certification process, adding that she has worked for the company as a flight attendant for 32 years.
The new air carrier will employ only a quarter of its predecessor's personnel, Emma said, adding that funds for the reorganization of the company, coming from European funds, should have been spent on its employees instead.
"The rest [of the workers who will not be recruited by ITA] will remain on allowances, and it is unknown for how long. The government cannot decide on how many years the payments will last," Emma explained.
During the protest, demonstrators in uniforms held flags of main Alitalia unions and posters, and one of them had a large inflatable model of an airplane with the Alitalia insignia.
Earlier this month, Italian unions held discussions with the ITA leadership on the extension of the redundancy fund for the concerned workers, which they want to operate until 2025, and a set of other related issues. After the negotiations failed, the unions demanded to meet with the government.