April 19, 2017
Alitalia staff vote on restructuring deal to rescue ailing airline
After lengthy negotiations between unions and the Italian flagship carrier Alitalia, mediated by the Italian government, a rescue package for the ailing airline has been put to the vote, with approximately 12,500 employees casting their ballots between Thursday, April 20 and Monday April 24.
In mid-March a comprehensive restructuring deal was put on the table which would have seen 1,338 jobs cut and air crew salaries trimmed by between 24 and 30 per cent. Unions, including Filt Cgil, have managed to renegotiate the terms of the package, which would now see 980 jobs cut and air crew salaries reduced by eight per cent. In return for these concessions the air crew would also have to agree to reduce their annual number of rest days from 120 to 108.
However, the airline is rapidly running out of liquidity and it is clear that an injection of cash will be required by the end of the month. Etihad Airways, a 49% stakeholder and de-facto controller of the airline, together with its shareholders and the Italian banks Intesa Sanpaolo and UniCredit, have made it very clear that there will be no further investment unless the outcome of the vote is positive and unions agree to the new collective labor agreements and staff cuts.
The ‘no’ campaigners are very much against the restructuring proposals, claiming that employees have already been bled dry by previous efforts to keep the ailing airline afloat. The Italian government has warned that a ‘no’ victory would not only be costly for the airline, but that it could also prove to be fatal.