The Extraordinary Wage Guarantee Fund (CIGS) is a wage guarantee instrument authorized by the Italy Ministry of labor and Social Policies and available to companies staffed with more than 15 employees (or 50 employees in case of commercial businesses). The end of this allowance is in less than a year with 2,668 workers affected by the provision continuing to receive the allowance until October 31, 2024.
After that deadline date, the New Social Insurance for Employment (NASpI) will have to kick in. This is a monthly unemployment allowance, which applies to cases of involuntary unemployment. Alitalia employees are allowed to leave the CIG before the end and receive 2 years of NASpl.
Alitalia, or what remains of it, has sent a letter, addressed to the transport unions and the ministries of Labor, Infrastructure and Enterprise, as well as Made in Italy, in which it announces “against its will” the start of a dismissal procedure for staff reduction.
The letter from Alitalia states in part: “The undersigned is unable to re-employ the workers currently suspended on redundancy pay.”
Although this decision was foreseen by Alitalia, there was hope for a further extension of the deadlines, however, that did not come to fruition.
On Thursday, December 7, the trade unions will have a first meeting with the commissioners of Alitalia, in extraordinary administration, to examine the dismissal procedure due to staff reduction, initiated by the former national airline.
Union sources shared that the Alitalia Commissioners let it be known that the procedure “has been carefully evaluated at the end of a shared process, which involves the signing of a specific agreement with the trade unions, and which will be activated exclusively voluntarily. It is, therefore, at the employee’s total discretion to join or not based on their own assessments.”
“As far as we are concerned, it is necessary for the government to immediately stop the layoffs and extend the redundancy fund for the whole of 2024 and also for 2025 until all the workers of Alitalia in extraordinary administration are put back into service,” said the National Air Transport Coordinator of Italian trade unions Filt Cgil Nazionale, Fabrizio Cuscito.
Claudio Tarlazzi, Secretary of Uil Trasporti, and Italian union of transport workers, added: “The company goes into liquidation in January and, therefore, it is clear that the staff still employed are redundant. The fact that they have sent the dismissal letters is now part of the procedure and is connected to the fact that the redundancy fund will end at the end of October 2024,” recalling, however, that the unions had asked for an extension until 2025.
“The formal procedure is there and, net of the individual choices of the workers, we (the workers union) demanded and continue to demand not only a longer layoff but also that people unable to access the requirements for retirement in the NASpl period be relocated to the area of new companies,” stated Tarlazzi again.
“Over 2,000 layoffs at Alitalia are a clear sign of a divestment and not a relaunch of the national airline. We ask the government to convene a table immediately to save jobs,” said the leader of the Democratic Party in the Labor Committee of the Chamber Arturo Scotto.
Alitalia stopped flying in October 2021 when part of its assets and employees moved to the new ITA Airways. Technically, ITA is a start-up, at least this is what the government, which is 100% the airline shareholder, claims.
Without any details on the transaction of the airlines given, there is no business continuity, which means the new company is not required to absorb the staff from the one from which it took over. This procedure was contested by many of the workers who remained unemployed in Alitalia. They initiated multiple lawsuits before the labor courts with mixed results. A few hundred workers were reinstated but most sentences ruled in favor of the company (and the government). In an unprecedented move, an executive even issued an “interpretative” circular.
This whole issue is a possible stumbling block on the road to the acquisition of the Italian company by Lufthansa. The German carrier intends to initially acquire 40% (but ensuring full operational control) with the possibility of further increasing the share in the future. On its own, ITA Airways, which continues to lose money as much as Alitalia if not more, would not have a long life.