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Unions Onboard for Alitalia Rescue


The last unions holding out against a deal to salvage ailing Italian carrier Alitalia have agreed to the project. But the unions, which represent mostly flight attendants, said this is no cause for celebration. Sabina Castelfranco reports from Rome.

All nine unions have now agreed to the rescue plan for Alitalia. The last two unions, which represent mostly flight attendants, said there was no reason to celebrate because many would lose their jobs. The unions said they agreed to the deal out of a sense of responsibility.

While fears that Alitalia planes would be grounded have been put to rest, many airline workers continue to voice their discontent.

An air stewardess who works out of Rome's Fiumicino airport said there is so much uncertainty because no one knows what will happen. There is a lot of confusion and fears that many will no longer have jobs.

One month ago Alitalia was declared insolvent. Since then non-stop efforts have been underway to salvage Italy's loss-making airline.

Unions and pilots have agreed to a government-backed takeover by a group of investors. Employees have had to agree to longer hours for the same pay. The investors are also looking for a foreign carrier to take on a minority stake.

"That is what we hope because they have the knowledge to make a company. The other 18 people that buy this company, they do not know anything. And also Lufthansa and Air France told them that to have a social peace you have to treat very well the flight attendants and pilots because they are the ones that conduce you around the world," said an Alitalia flight attendant, who says a foreign partner for the Italian carrier is an absolute must if the company is to survive.

Twenty-five-million passengers flew Alitalia last year. The company's new incarnation is expected to take off November 1.

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