A flash mob of ex-Alitalia flight attendants took to the streets of Rome on Wednesday and stripped off their uniforms in protest at the airline’s demise. The all-female group of cabin crew stripped down to their camisoles and chanted “we are Alitalia” as they held hands in the famous Campidoglio piazza in Rome.
Alitalia ceased to exist on October 15 and was replaced by Italia Trasporto Aereo (ITA). The decision to shut down Alitalia and replace it with the state-backed ITA Airways was part of a deal the Italian government struck with the European Commission to write off Alitalia’s massive debts.
In the days leading up to Alitalia’s demise, trade unions failed to come to an agreement with ITA over terms and conditions for workers that transferred to the new airline.
Unions claim the few workers who were on by ITA have seen their wages drop by more than 30 per cent. ITA has only taken on 3,000 or Alitalia’s roughly 10,000 strong workforce.
Spaced apart in a uniform fashion across the piazza, the flight attendants removed their large overcoats to reveal their Alitalia uniforms. They then slowly stripped off until they were all stood in silence only wearing cream-coloured slips.
The flight attendants ended their protest by joining hands and chanting “We are Alitalia.
“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 bought the rights to the Alitalia brand name for €90 million but company bosses say they only acquired the brand to prevent it from falling into the hands of a rival. They hope to sell ITA to a major investor in the next few years. Contenders could include Germany’s Lufthansa or the Madrid-headquartered IAG.
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.