Dozens of former flight attendants from the defunct Italian airline Alitalia wore only their underwear in a silent, staged protest in central Rome on Wednesday.
Italy’s decades-old airline, which had been in financial trouble for a long time, flew its final trip on Oct. 14. The following day, a new airline, ITA, commenced operations, using some of Alitalia’s planes. It also purchased the Alitalia brand; however, it will employ less than 3,000 of Alitalia’s 10,000 employees.
According to union officials, individuals who will work for ITA will be paid much less.
Some 50 ex-flight attendants gathered in rows in a square atop Rome’s Capitoline Hill, lowered their company shoulder bags to the cobblestone sidewalk, then slowly and in unison removed their overcoats, uniform jackets, skirts, and high-heeled shoes.
For a few minutes, they stood barefoot, wearing only a slip, in quiet. Then they carefully gathered their clothes and shoes and exclaimed, “We are Alitalia!”
Union leaders have urged the government to extend jobless benefits for up to five years.
By Joe Cusmano