In protest at the airline’s demise, a flash mob of ex-Alitalia flight attendants came to the streets of Rome on Wednesday and stripped off their uniforms.
In Rome’s famous Campidoglio piazza, the all-female cabin crew stripped down to their camisoles and held hands, chanting “we are Alitalia.”
On October 15, Alitalia suspended operations and was replaced by Italia Trasporto Aereo (ITA). The decision to close Alitalia and replace it with state-owned ITA Airways was made as part of an agreement between the Italian government and the European Commission to write off Alitalia’s large debts.
Trade unions failed to reach an agreement with ITA over terms and conditions for workers who transferred to the new airline in the days leading up to Alitalia’s bankruptcy.
According to unions, the few people employed by ITA have seen their earnings cut by more than 30%. Only 3,000 of Alitalia’s 10,000 employees have been hired by ITA.
The flight attendants removed their huge overcoats to expose their Alitalia uniforms, which were spaced out in a uniform pattern over the plaza. They then gradually undressed until they were all dressed in cream-colored slips and stood in silence.
“We are Alitalia,” the flight attendants chanted as they ended up their protest.
“We first came to express our pain,” one of the ex-flight attendants taking part in the protest told local media. “Solidarity goes to all our colleagues who called to Ita and who were forced to sign a humiliating and mortifying company contract.”
ITA paid €90 million for the Alitalia brand name, but firm executives claim they simply bought it to keep it from slipping into the hands of a competitor. In the next few years, they want to sell ITA to a significant investor. Lufthansa, based in Germany, or IAG, based in Madrid, could be contenders.