Italian state airline Alitalia is facing significant change. In October 2020, the Italian government approved the reorganisation of the airline and the creation of a new entity: Alitalia – Italia Transporto Aereo (ITA). The move caught the attention of DG COMP, who will have to clear state aid to the airline, as required by competition law.
Alitalia employs more than 10,000 people in Italy, and its fate will impact not only all of their lives but also the broader Italian aviation, transport and tourism industries. The current lack of clarity and unpredictability of the airline’s future has made Alitalia workers and unions concerned, and they have started to look for answers on the details of the restructuring process. They are fighting to ensure that whatever plans are agreed, the new airline can live up to its former strong position in the Italian passenger and freight aviation markets, and that the airline can remain competitive against an influx of low-cost carriers.
The ETF has been following the situation closely and continue to support our Italian affiliates. In an effort to bring together the different parties, stimulate the discussion and allow unions to seek answers, the ETF brought together representatives of Italian unions and DG COMP on Wednesday.
The ETF voiced the concerns of Alitalia workers and emphasised that solutions need to be found swiftly. Protecting Alitalia jobs means protecting the long-term stability of the company and of the aviation and tourism industries.
The company needs a permanent state-supported solution that includes immediate and continual protection for the workers. Liquidity is necessary so that salaries can be paid and people can keep their jobs. In the current economic situation, this is the most straightforward solution and will prevent a social disaster, as any active labour market policies are unlikely to be successful at the moment.
Whatever major change companies go through, workers must be at the centre of the discussion. The wellbeing of staff translates into the wellbeing of companies, and the long-term stability of entire industries. The ETF will continue to support affiliates in seeking answers and protecting workers’ rights at the EU level.