Alitalia workers clash with police over job cuts

Alitalia workers wait in front of Alitalia headquarters in Rome, 18 Mar 2008

Italian riot police and several hundred Alitalia Airline maintenance employees have clashed in Rome as workers protested job losses threatened by the Airline's pending sale to Air France-KLM.

No serious injuries were reported in the scuffles on Tuesday that took place as Alitalia negotiators met with unions to seek backing for the takeover. The deal, announced Sunday, requires the approval of parliament and all nine airline labor unions.

Air France-KLM will cut 1,600 jobs from Alitalia's airborne activities, about 15 percent of staff in that area, union officials were told by Air France's CEO, Jean Cyril Spinetta, on Tuesday. Spinetta told the unions that its plans for Alitalia are "painful" but would allow the carrier to survive.

CGIL union leader Guglielmo Epifani told reporters ahead of talks with Alitalia management that "'take-it-or-leave-it' has never been the best tactic with unions".

"I have not asked for time, I have requested room for negotiations," said Epifani. "If there is no margin for negotiations, we will decide what the consequences are."

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Mar 20 2008 12:26


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