Alitalia cancels 142 flights over 5 July strike

Alitalia staff hold strike over lost "privileges" for flight crew.

Alitalia has cancelled 142 flights scheduled for Tuesday 5 July due to a strike action by employees protesting over the company's scrapping of "privileges" for pilots and flight crew.

The four-hour strike, programmed between 11.00 and 15.00, was condemned as "incomprehensible” by Alitalia boss, Australian Cramer Ball.

The action was called after the airline recently scrapped a privilege allowing pilots and flight attendants to fly free to reach their Rome or Milan work locations.

The company defended the decision as a cost-cutting measure, "in line with other airlines around the world", however the Fit-Cisl trade union described the cut as an "attack on the rights of workers."

Employees of another Italian carrier, Meridiana, are also holding a simultaneous strike over the company's recently announced pay cuts and roughly 400 redundancies.

Alitalia was saved from bankruptcy in late 2014 by Etihad Airways which invested €1.76 billion to acquire a 49 per cent in the struggling Italian company. As part of its revamp last summer, the Abu Dhabi-based carrier unveiled a new livery and uniforms for Alitalia staff.