Over 700 flights were cancelled in Italy on Tuesday as 4,000 air traffic controllers and related workers went on a one-day strike, local media reported.
At least 720 arrivals and departures were cancelled as of Tuesday.
Alitalia cancelled at least 80 flights out of the Italian capital and over 200 flights overall due to the strike, according to ANSA news agency.
The nationwide action was called because air traffic service provider, ENAV S.p.A., which was partially privatised by the Economy Ministry in 2016 to reduce Italy’s public debt, failed to renew a national collective bargaining contract that expired on December 31 of that year, unions said in a joint statement.
Unions argued that while corporate profits rise, the company has failed to reward its labour force, which is under pressure due to increased air traffic and longer overtime demands.
“We are striking to call attention to the fact that management is privileging the interests of investors and financial markets over those of labour,’’ Filt-CGIL union spokesperson, Guido Barcucci, told Xinhua.
Barcucci added that almost 100 per cent of workers represented by his union adhered to the strike.
A look at the company’s financials appears to bear this out.
In 2017, ENAV reported consolidated net revenue of about one billion U.S. dollars, up 1.9 per cent over 2016.
At the same time, labour costs were unchanged at 478.4 million euros.
While there was a 6.5 per cent increase in wages, this was offset by staff reductions, the company said on its corporate website.
“We are disappointed by the company’s behaviour,’’ Filt-CISL transport union secretary, Salvatore Pellecchia, said in a statement.
“While continuing to realise profits, management hasn’t even bothered to try to avert the strike by calling the parties to the negotiating table.’’
Almost 175 million passengers transited through Italy’s airports in 2017, up 6.2 per cent compared to the previous year.
Rome’s Leonardo da Vinci International Airport led the way with almost 41 million passengers and 23 per cent of total traffic, according to the Italian Civil Aviation Authority (ENAC).
ENAV manages 1.86 million flights a year out of 45 civilian airports throughout the country.