Wildcat walkouts over restructuring ground flights in Italy

Alitalia cancelled 44 flights today due to continued labour unrest, the second day in a row Italy's struggling national carrier has had to scrap flights because of wildcat walkouts.

Submitted by Steven. on January 22, 2006

Italy's main unions, meanwhile, met at Rome's Leonardo da Vinci airport to discuss whether to proceed with a threatened full-day strike starting Monday - the second in a week. Italian news agencies ANSA and Apcom said the walkout was cancelled pending the outcome of a meeting with the government scheduled for Wednesday.

Alitalia said in a statement that as of Sunday morning it had to cancel 44 out of 130 flights scheduled across its network for Sunday, blaming "illegal union initiatives." On Saturday it scrubbed 66 flights.

Ground crews, including baggage handlers and airplane maintenance workers, had refused to work Saturday and ground crews were continuing to cause the problems, Alitalia said.

Union officials have said the protests stemmed from a breakdown in negotiations with the government. Workers are protesting restructuring plans at the loss-making airline, which have included cutting jobs and spinning off the airline's flight unit from its less profitable ground services business.

On Thursday, Alitalia's employees staged a one-day strike.

The sign in the picture reads "Closed due to strike" in Italian