Union Cancels Flights as Strikes Hit Italian Airlines

Italian transport unions have called on airline staff in Italy to go on strike on Friday afternoon.

The call was directed at the staff of several airlines, including the Italian airline Alitalia, which was on the verge of going out of business, according to a joint statement by the unions.

The workers’ representatives demanded that the dismissals be stopped and that the money from the wage compensation fund continue to flow.

According to the statement, they wanted to use the labour action as a protest to stand up for the employees in the handling and catering departments as well as for the seasonal workers.

The warning strike came at a time Italy has loosened coronavirus rules for most of the country and more tourists were again flying there on holiday or arriving for a weekend.

According to media information, the airports of Rome Fiumicino and Milan Linate were to be hit by the strikes.

Alitalia did not initially respond to an enquiry.

Online, the website of the airport in Rome showed that many Alitalia flights were cancelled in the afternoon.

The warning strike was scheduled from 1.00 p.m. to 5.oo p.m. (1100-1500 GMT).

Alitalia has not made a profit for years and is dependent on state aid.

It is to be replaced by the leaner Italia Trasporto Aereo (ITA).

The new airline was supposed to take off in the spring.

However, there were disputes with the EU competition authorities on landing rights.

On Thursday, the Italian Ministry of Economy also announced that the manager, Alfredo Altavilla, would be the new head of ITA.

The transport union Fit-Cisl interpreted this as a sign that the government was trying to speed up the start of ITA.

However, it also said that this should not mean a further downsizing of the new company.

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