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Forza Sindicati!!! September 25, 2008

Posted by supersonicswan in Supersonic.
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Few deviations of nature provoke such a deep feeling of repugnance in my mind and body as Alitalia and its unions do. Probably because they give a clear example of why the power of unionists should be drastically reduced.

Not that exclusively the labor movement is to be blamed for the pitiful state in which the Italian carrier has been for years now. One might say that Alitalia’s most serious disfunction was its origin which naturally forced the airline to be in the very centre of Italian politics. So Mr Berlusconi & Co. could play their games for quite a long while. After that however, the bad boys from EU stepped in and said: “eat up your spaghetti, siesta is over“. The Italians weren’t even allowed the ritual espresso this time…

At the point when the EU decided about unlawfulness of any further subsidies, Alitalia was losing some 1million EUR per day. If I’m not wrong that was around 10-11 months ago. In June 2008 the company lost some 50 million EUR plus, which gives almost 2million EUR loss per day.

Last spring there were rumours about AirFrance-KLM taking over Alitalia. Later on I heard about Aeroflot being interested in same scenario which was materialised in Mr Putin meeting Mr Berlusconi. As coffee doesn’t mix well with very strong spirits, they did not take it any further. Then I read that Turkish Airlines were contemplating the takeover move. Most recently, talks with an Italian consortium CAI collapsed thus drastically diminishing any chances that were left for the airline to stay afloat.

Obviously, we are well advised to skip the Russian & Turkish dilemmas on whether to save the poor Italian or let them burn in hell. Since the very moment AF-KLM pulled out, it was clear no foreign investor will let anyone get them bugged down. Why? Because the unions don’t understand that half a loaf is better than no bread at all. And employees support them in a ridiculous expression of utmost ignorance.

Even during negotiations with CAI, the unionists would protest – against their company’s survival, against their own future and work posts. Protesting against lack of govermental support but rejecting any ideas for restructuring.

The ailing air carrier – nowadays losing more than 2million EUR daily and operating with a provisional licence – is desperately looking for a new buyer. The administrator placed avertisements in Corriere della Sera, la Repubblica but also in the Financial Times. Alitalia is cutting flights due to not being able to buy fuel. Italy’s civil aviation authority ENAC is expected to withdraw the carrier’s licence this week if no cost-cutting measures are undertaken.

CAI’s proposal was rejected by unions because it involved 3000 jobs being cut. Owing to this concern, this week we may see Alitalia’s 19000 employees lose their jobs. Any help is not likely to come – everyone is waiting to snap the restovers at a lower price.