Today’s news in the ongoing Alitalia saga:
It appears as though it will be necessary to fire 5000 people from Alitalia, according to the Berlusconi plan, significantly more than the Air France plan called for. However, he said, the unions are pretty much faced with a “take it or leave it” offer – leave it and the whole thing takes a nosedive. In an Italy where the unions are still quite powerful, and where they rejected an offer from Air France with far fewer “redundancies”, it’s hard to imagine that the unions won’t react badly to the, deal, which will make for an interesting confrontation: on one hand, Berlusconi will have egg on his face if he fails to do what he promised, on the other hand, if the company finally, mercifully goes bankrupt, those people will be out of a job in any case. In one of his usual blunders, Berlusconi also mentioned that “yes, the money’s there, enough that I even had to say no to some people”. Including the people he plans to can, I suppose?
Naturally, not many other specifics were available: after talking with the Minister of Transportation in France, Berlusconi also stated that, there would be “synergies” with the French, whatever that may mean.
There’s also evidence that some of the wealthy participants in Berlusconi’s deal to throw good money after bad are being leaned on to “do their part”. A member of the Benetton family said they would lend a hand, but that they didn’t want to become part of a new “IRI”, or Istituto per la Ricostruzione Industriale, a fascist-era company tasked with buying up failing companies.