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CLARA MOSCHINI

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Alitalia hearing: the position of the Italian unions

Compacts on State participation, rescue loan and redundancies

The hearings of the Transport Commission have just taken place, as part of the examination of the decree on "Urgent measures to ensure the continuity of the service performed by Alitalia in extraordinary administration".

The union representatives of Filt Cgil, Fit Cisl, Uiltrasporti, UGL Trasporto aereo, Anpac, Anpav, Assovolo, Cub Trasporti, Usb Lavoro privato have maintained the same line regarding some fundamental themes: the maintenance of a State participation in the Italian carrier, the the inevitable necessity of the disbursement of the 400 million Euro loan, the non-acceptance of a restructuring made on the skin of the workers (which would result in thousands of redundancies), the urgency of a reform of the rules of regulation of the air transport that contains the aggressive competition of low-cost airlines, the request to review the expiry of the solidarity fund scheduled for December 31st.

Fabrizio Cuscito pointed out that the EUR 400 million should be granted as soon as possible because the company risks not having more oxygen and showed that the staff cuts did not lead to any results: in 2008 the company had 20,000 employees and today with the 11,000 remaining the carrier is still in crisis. The tendency, according to Cuscito, should be that of the investment preserving Alitalia in its entirety with the guarantee of the presence of the State.

Stefano Di Cesare, national manager of Fit-Cisl for pilots and flight attendants, brought the winning example of the Dutch crown regarding State participation in the national airline and said that the airline cannot be unpacked: the 'Newco' should then keep the parts handling and maintenance. "It is important that there is an industrial plan and adequate managerial guidance. The downsizing of personnel and routes has only worsened the situation. Our luck is that Alitalia is a brand that" pulls". A national carrier for the country is critical".

Ivan Viglietti of Uiltrasporti reiterates that the economic injection of the loan guarantees business continuity and planning for the coming months: the company should work on the "Winter 2020-2021" program, impossible in this emergency situation. "The participation of the State is fundamental, but if a wide-ranging strategy is not devised it will have no alternative but to be reduced to a regional carrier. It is necessary to reason that concerns the entire air transport system which is the winning field for foreign operators "the issue of competition between carriers must be addressed. Alitalia suffers from under-sizing and it is necessary to make investments. Leaving such a rich market in the hands of foreign carriers means losing profits that operators go to invest elsewhere", he said and added: "thousands of families the solidarity fund is vital".

Francesco Alfonsi explained that many airlines provide for State intervention, has focused attention on the challenge of making Alitalia a reference hub for the Mediterranean and has re-launched: "The air transport industries should be opened" "We have never worked for an industrial project in the Country. We are spectators of a thriving market. Even today, I hear those who propose to give away handling or maintenance to foreign operators when we could create a maintenance center with four hangars in these months no such reasoning has ever been done. Alitalia is treated as a problem and not as a resource".

Antonio Divietri of Anpac launches a provocation stating that, paradoxically, in semi-totalitarian systems like Turkey and China, carriers experience a better situation than Italian democracy. "Lufthansa's proposal brings blood out of our noses: we are losing jobs and there is a risk of unpacking the air company. These days we are talking about a proposal from Air France. If the Lufthansa proposal is worth EUR 50 million  a year, and Air France speaks of 100 million. So if it was true, let's deepen".

Massimo Muccioli, president of Anpav: "Yesterday we met Patuanelli and Leogrande and in a first phase the State will not enter the capital of Alitalia. This seems to us a change of orientation with respect to the past. We ask for greater clarity with respect to what are the current cash availability, the EUR 400 million need but we cannot find only buffer solutions".

Even Antonio Amoroso of Cub echoes the need for transparency with respect to the cash register and the possibility of viewing the financial statements and points out that a part of the decree that provides for the urgent sale of the carrier would appear to be a copy of 2017. The sale for him would be a big mistake, as it was to involve Atlantia considering the situation of motorway concessions. According to Amoroso "no country suffers the aggression of low-cost companies like Italy".

Assovolo also agreed on the need for a regulation that eliminates contractual discrepancies between low-cost company workers and Alitalia.

For USB Trasporti, the closure of Alitalia would entail a social and fiscal disaster and has exposed considerable perplexity on the fact that in 5 months with the 400 million targets can be reached that have not been achieved so far.

RC3 - 1226665

© AVIONEWS - World Aeronautical Press Agency Srl
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