On October 14, 2021, Alitalia ceased operations after struggling for years. The airline was replaced by ITA Airways, Italy’s new national carrier. ITA Airways is significantly smaller than Alitalia was, and as a result a lot of former Alitalia employees are out of jobs. Well, some of those employees organized quite an interesting protest today.
Alitalia flight attendants perform flash mob protest
Dozens of former Alitalia flight attendants had a flash mob protest at Rome’s Capitoline Hill today, and it was quite a performance.
They started by taking off their overcoats to reveal their full Alitalia uniforms. They then removed their jackets, then skirts, and then high-heeled shoes, before eventually just being in undergarments (or night gowns, or something).
The barefoot ex-flight attendants stood in silence, and then shouted “we are Alitalia!” You can see much of the protest for yourself below.
Forgetting the message of the protest for a moment, I’ve gotta say, this was pretty well done.
What were former Alitalia flight attendants protesting?
ITA Airways has taken on some former Alitalia flight attendants, though most former Alitalia employees are unfortunately unemployed:
- While ITA Airways bought the Alitalia brand, the airline is only hiring fewer than 3,000 of Alitalia’s former 10,000 employees
- It’s reported that those who have been hired at ITA Airways are being paid significantly less than they were at Alitalia
- The union wants the government to extend unemployment benefits for former Alitalia employees for up to five years
I mean, I see both sides here. I feel bad for former Alitalia employees, especially since the airline industry is heavily seniority based, so often employees can’t find comparable jobs at other airlines. Furthermore, it’s not the fault of the employees that the company was so poorly mismanaged for so many years.
However, one of Alitalia’s big problems was an uncompetitive labor arrangement, both in terms of the number of employees and the pay. While I feel bad for all the Alitalia employees who lost their jobs, were they expecting that the airline could just continue to lose money forever and receive endless government funding, or…?
Around 50 former Alitalia flight attendants had a flash mob protest in Rome today, which was quite well done. The employees were expressing frustration over losing their jobs, and also over the significantly lower pay rates at ITA Airways. I’m not sure this will accomplish all that much, but…
What do you make of this Alitalia protest?
(Tip of the hat to Paddle Your Own Kanoo)