August 14, 2008

Alitalia Attendants Plan One-Minute Strike

Flight attendants at troubled Italian airline Alitalia said they would walk out on their jobs for exactly one minute on Sept. 6.

The action was called to persuade management to explain the company's restructuring plan, ANSA, the Italian news agency, reported Thursday.

The union said further action might be taken. ''If exhaustive and convincing replies are not forthcoming we will not hesitate to make our voice heard,'' the SDL union said.

''It will take a lot less than a minute to block all air transport," the union said.

Incoming Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi said a new plan to split the airline in two and merge the profitable division with Air One would involve 2,000 fewer layoffs than the proposed merger with Air France KLM, a merger that was scuttled earlier this year.

In the plan, the unprofitable division of Alitalia would be liquidated and 5,000 would lose their jobs.

Berlusconi said the plan was the "lesser evil," compared with the airline going bankrupt with a loss of 20,000 jobs or a merger with Air France with a loss of 7,000 jobs.

Air France had estimated a takeover would have sacrificed 2,100 jobs, ANSA reported.