Workers for soon-to-be-defunct Alitalia block highway exit

Business News

Police face Alitalia workers after they blocked the highway leading to the Rome Leonardo Da Vinci international airport following a protest in Fiumicino, Friday, Sept. 24, 2021. Alitalia, which has been in the red for more than a decade, is due to formally exit the airline market next month and be replaced by a new national carrier ITA, or Italy Air Transport. The European Commission has given the go-ahead to a 1.35 billion euro ($1.58 billion) injection of government funding into the new airline, but ITA is only planning to hire around a quarter of the estimated 10,000 Alitalia employees. (Cecilia Fabiano/LaPresse via AP)

ROME (AP) — Hundreds of Alitalia workers blocked a highway exit outside Rome’s main airport on Friday in a protest το vent their anger that most of the airline’s staff will soon lose their jobs.

As of Oct. 15, Alitalia, long financially ailing, won’t exist anymore. The new company being formed, called ITA, says it will only keep some 2,800 of 10,000 of Alitalia’s employees.

In protest, Alitalia employees hit back by forcing the cancellation of many flights during the day-long walkout. Along the roadway and near the highway exit for Leonardo da Vinci Airport, some strikers sat down, while others skirmished with police in riot gear.

The protest caused kilometers-long traffic tie-ups. “Work! Work!” they shouted.

Alitalia workers also want unemployment benefits to last five years, as opposed to one year under the current arrangement.

Union leaders are pressing Premier Mario Draghi’s government to guide negotiations in order to secure better conditions for workers who will keep their jobs and fewer job cuts.

ITA’s industrial plan also calls for reducing the fleet of aircraft.

Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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