The solution to the Alitalia dossier involves a double package of social safety nets for the approximately six thousand Alitalia employees considered in excess. The first – within the extraordinary administration – will serve to gradually accompany people towards retirement over the next 4-5 years. The other – which involves the newco Italia Trasporti Aereo – will try to start a sort of generational relay between elderly and young personnel. the ministries involved, the commissioners of the Italian airline, the newco and the trade unions are working on this scheme, according to what they explain to the Corriere della Sera two institutional sources.
The approach – the sources specify – has not yet been signed and is subject to changes not only due to the evolution of the market in 2021 and subsequent years, but also as a result of any requests from the EU Antitrust which aims to obtain the maximum discontinuity of the Alitalia-ITA operation. But it is considered, up to now, the most credible solution by all the protagonists who think it is also time to start what they define as operation truth. The newco led by CEO Fabio Lazzerini and president Francesco Caio intends to take off with 45-47 aircraft and 4,500-4,800 employees to reach about nine thousand at the end of the five-year industrial plan. The staff of the current Alitalia amounted to 10,654 employees as of 30 June 2020 as shown in the document deposited in Parliament.
This means that at first about six thousand workers would remain in the extraordinary administration with the unemployment nightmare. The number would actually be higher in the early stages, the sources note. The government’s intention to immediately sell the aviation branch of Alitalia to the newco – through direct negotiation. At the same time, ITA would sign a contract for the supply of ground and maintenance services with the extraordinary administration. In the meantime, the commissioner could work more calmly on the publication of a tender for the sale of asset handling, maintenance and Loyalty (the division that manages the MilleMiglia loyalty program).
The first hires
If the EU were to approve the idea of direct aviation sales, this would lead ITA to hire about 2,100 people including pilots and flight attendants (out of the current 4,800), 200 operations staff and another 500-600 working in the offices for a total of 2,800 employees. The other 7,800 would remain in the extraordinary administration to offer maintenance and handling services to the newco. About 5-6 months after the take-off of ITA and once the sale procedures of the other branches (which the government hopes will be awarded to the newco) have been concluded, another 1,700-2,000 people could be hired.
The newco, the sources continue, wants to take off with 37-39 Airbus A319-A320 to operate short and medium flights and 8 Boeing 777s for intercontinental routes. The Embraer (of the regional CityLiner division), the A321 (too old) and the A330 would be abandoned. For this reason, initially, among the pilots, it would be those who already have the qualification for the two aircraft models (the same for the A319 and A320), even if perhaps already close to pre-retirement or retirement. Here the first shock absorber package would be triggered under the umbrella of an expansion contract: while ITA takes off, the youngest commanders and first officers are qualified to pilot the planes that will renew the fleet.
The generational relay
As the new jets enter service – the Airbus A220-A320-A321 and Boeing 787s are assumed – the hiring of young pilots could begin, while the older ones would retire. A different route would be provided for flight attendants who are not bound to the type of aircraft and service. About 800 pilots and 1,200 hostesses and stewards would remain out of the first round of hiring in the newco. Social safety nets should lead to retirement of 400 pilots and 400-500 cabin crew.
The shock absorbers
What about the other 6,000 employees? The three commissioners of Alitalia Leogrande-Santosuosso-Fava are working on this with the ministries of Labor and Economic Development and the trade unions. The orientation is that of a package of social safety nets connected directly to the extraordinary administration lasting 4-5 years (one of the knots to be solved in the context of the negotiations). In this way a share would gradually reach the pension requirement and therefore would not be hired by the newco. If, the sources explain, the maintenance workers should have no problems being hired in the newco (once the sales tender is over), the social safety nets would be more concentrated on the ground staff.
The union-commissioners meeting
On Wednesday 10 March the unions had a double meeting with the three commissioners Daniele Santosuosso and Gabriele Fava who have been working alongside Giuseppe Leogrande for a few days. There has been talk of Alitalia’s cash in hand, which is increasingly running out, of the EU which has not yet given the okay to the 55 million euros of anti-Covid refreshments (for November and December 2020) and of the State-Brussels negotiations on the newco. Many issues, so much so as to impose another summit on 17 March. The need to ensure Alitalia’s operational and financial continuity was reiterated, according to a joint note by Filt-Cgil, Fit-Cisl and Uiltrasporti. The commissioner three were asked for guarantees on the payment of salaries and indemnities and additions relating to the redundancy fund, adds in another press release Fnta (Anpac, Anpav, Anp) which reiterated the request to open a coordination table with ITA and with the ministries on the labor issue connected with the departure of the new Alitalia.