27 JANUARY 2014
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No job losses. That is the message being put out by Alitalia as part of a restructuring presented to unions. The airline says it wants to improve its financial shape to appeal to possible partners. How it does that without compulsory redundancies seems to be an Italian conundrum.
Alitalia raised €300m (US$407m) in an emergency share issue last month and received €200m in bank financing, which should keep it flying for the next six months.
The carrier, which employs 14,000 people, said it would use state-sponsored social security schemes under which workers are temporarily sent home while a company awaits an improvement in market conditions. Staff could also be put on "solidarity contracts", under which they are paid less and work less.
It said such measures would mean no-one would be fired, but the company would still achieve its target of reducing staff costs.
The carrier is in talks on a possible investment with Etihad Airways. James Hogan, Etihad’s boss, says: "No rush.” (see BTN 20 January) Air France-KLM will look at reinvesting in Alitalia if the conditions it set for its restructuring are met, the Franco-Dutch airline's Chief Executive Officer, Alexandre de Juniac, said on Thursday. "Our partnership with Alitalia is very important," he told the European American Press Club. www.alitalia.com
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