We stand by our Italian affiliates in their fight to stop the dismissal of over 1,400 workers from the Air Italy

11 Jan 2022

Our first union action in the aviation sector in 2022 is today, the 11th of January 2022. We want to show our complete support to our affiliates, Filt-Cgil, Fit-Cisl, and Uiltrasporti, protesting nationally today in Rome in their legitimate attempts to stop the dismissal of over 1,400 Italian workers from Air Italy.

The Italian aviation workers are asking their Government today to disregard the dismissal letters Air Italy had sent to its workers just before Christmas after the company benefited from the Italian social safety nets throughout the pandemic. Still, instead of applying for more social safety provisions, the company – owned by Qatar Airways 49% and AQA (Aga Khan) with 51% – decided to fire all its workers last December.

Stop a social tragedy from happening and call the company to discuss an integration decision to end all these layoffs’ is the clear message of our Italian affiliates that we fully support. We consider the Italian authorities have to find an integrative solution to this crisis, putting the workers’ wellbeing at the core of the negotiations.

The reality of the recent dismissals at Air Italy is indeed unacceptable, as the Italian union leaders are certainly claiming. Livia Spera, General Secretary of the ETF, declares:

‘It is not fair for any government to be silent in front of the bad practices of some foreign private companies who are first using the public resources and then when they find themselves in a difficult situation, they simply run away. The company still has legal responsibility for all those people who were hired, particularly in a time of crisis. Not forget it was less than four years ago!’

Together with our Italian affiliates, the ETF is calling today on the Italian Government to do whatever it takes to stop this social tragedy from happening. The Italian workers protesting today in Rome are expecting concrete solutions, strongly condemning a serious lack of leadership from the Italian Government, which must decide and find proper solutions for the transport sector.

They are reminding their ministers that the transport sector is entitled to be treated the same as other sectors of the Italian economy, for which solutions had been found to prevent workers falling through the safety net.

Beyond offering some guarantees for having a decent life in the near future, a reintegration solution – as the Italian unions ask it – could also be seen as part of a broader initiative of building a national basin for staff relocation. This would be crucial to prevent the loss of the expertise and professionalism of workers not just in the air transport sector but in all sectors of the economy.