Dozens of former flight attendants of the now defunct Italian airline Alitalia took off their uniforms on Wednesday, wearing only underwear during a silent and choreographed protest in central Rome.
Long in financial difficulty, the decades-old Italian airline made its last flight on October 14. A new airline, ITA, started flying the next day, using some of Alitalia’s planes. It also bought the Alitalia brand, but it hires less than 3,000 of Alitalia’s 10,000 employees.
Union officials say those who will work for the ITA are hired at significantly lower pay scales.
About fifty former flight attendants lined up in a plaza on top of Capitoline Hill in Rome, lowered their company’s sling bags onto the cobbled sidewalk, then slowly and in sync, took off their overcoats, then their uniform jackets, then their skirts, then out of their high-heeled shoes.
They remained barefoot, wearing only underpants, in silence for a few minutes. Then they carefully gathered their clothes and shoes and shouted together: “We are Alitalia!
Union leaders pushed for the government to extend unemployment benefits for five years.