Dozens of former flight attendants from the defunct Italian airline Alitalia wore only their underwear in a silent, staged protest in central Rome on Wednesday.
Italy’s decades-old airline, which had been in financial trouble for a long time, flew its final trip on Oct. 14. The following day, a new airline, ITA, commenced operations, using some of Alitalia’s planes. It also purchased the Alitalia brand; however, it will employ less than 3,000 of Alitalia’s 10,000 employees.
According to union officials, individuals who will work for ITA will be paid much less.
Some 50 ex-flight attendants gathered in rows in a square atop Rome’s Capitoline Hill, lowered their company shoulder bags to the cobblestone sidewalk, then slowly and in unison removed their overcoats, uniform jackets, skirts, and high-heeled shoes.
For a few minutes, they stood barefoot, wearing only a slip, in quiet. Then they carefully gathered their clothes and shoes and exclaimed, “We are Alitalia!”
Union leaders have urged the government to extend jobless benefits for up to five years.