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ITA Airways (2): reasons for the Alitalia ruling

Reintegration of 77 workers risks creating problems on Lufthansa-ITA deal

The European Commission had recognized the discontinuity between the former national airline Alitalia and the new air carrier ITA Airways. But the judge of the Rome Labor Court, Claudio Cottatellucci, clarified that it was "the assessment of the illegitimacy of the state aid" and not "the possible existence of the transfer of the company branch" to be "subject of the evaluation" of Brussels. ITA's defense against the reinstatement of 77 former Alitalia workers was therefore declared "unacceptable". This could create problems for the Lufthansa-ITA Airways deal.

"The findings in this judgment leave no doubts about the fact that the entrepreneurial activity of the assignor Alitalia continued without interruption until the conclusion of the contract with today's respondent and that above all it was arranged so that the activity up to that moment conducted by the transferor could be continued, precisely without interruption, by the transferee; equally undoubted that at the time of the conclusion of the transfer contract no agreement had been concluded between the social partners", reads the motivation of the sentence 6205/2023 of 14 June last.

"Only formally, the staff was not included in the transfer" and "moreover, it cannot be said that it was formally excluded if the purchaser, with the conclusion of the transfer contract, has assumed an obligation that indicates the term and the maximum limit of future hiring". Furthermore "the possibility that it could act for recruitment purposes on the free market has remained a purely residual hypothesis". 

Among industry experts there is concern that the pronouncement of the Rome Labor Court could lead to having to hire another 1,000 former Alitalia workers, who have remained outside the new company, prompting the German Lufthansa group to withdraw from the recently signed agreement with the Ministry of Economy and Finance (Mef) for the acquisition of 41% of ITA Airways against an investment of 325 million Euros.

Gic - 1252926

AVIONEWS - World Aeronautical Press Agency