RPT – Wizz Air rejects Italian unions’ calls for collective bargaining – Letter

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(Repeats to add reporting and editing credits)

MILAN, April 26 (Reuters) – Wizz Air has rejected calls by Italian unions to strike an employment contract with them as the low-budget airline continues its rapid expansion in the country.

In a letter to the Labor Ministry, reported by the Avionews website and seen by Reuters, the Hungarian airline said it was determined to operate in Italy without engaging with unions.

Long negotiations between Rome and the European Commission over a revival plan for cash-strapped carrier Alitalia have left gaps in the Italian market that low-cost competitors are rushing to fill.

Wizz Air, which began deploying crews and planes to Italy in July 2020, plans to open its fourth base in the country in June as part of an agreement with Palermo Airport in Sicily.

“The unions want Wizz Air to introduce a collective contract for its workers in the country in order to avoid the risk of inequalities between its employees compared to other carriers in the country,” a union source told Reuters.

Another union source said a meeting organized by the Italian Labor Ministry to mediate between unions and Wizz Air executives on April 15 ended without progress.

Wizz Air was not immediately available for comment.

“The company wants to align itself in Italy with the general rule adopted in other European countries not to adopt collective bargaining methods with unions for the management of its employment contracts, except in cases where Italian law provides specific mandatory information and consultation with unions, ”the airline said in its letter.

Wizz Air added that it had “never expressed or demonstrated anti-union behavior towards its own employees, the local authorities or the unions themselves” in Italy or abroad.

The airline recently replaced its chief of flight operations following an internal investigation into the company’s handling of 1,000 layoffs. (Report by Francesca Landini in Milan, Laurence Frost in Paris. Editing by Mark Potter)



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