Rome airport back to normal after baggage handlers strike

CGIL Filt union suspends assemblies to keep airport running

(ANSA) - Fiumicino, August 6 - Rome's Fiumicino airport was almost back to normal Wednesday after a work-to-rule action by Alitalia baggage handlers earlier in the week caused chaos during peak tourist season.
    Baggage handlers organized by CGIL Filt union initiated their action Sunday in protest against looming layoffs, disrupting Fiumicino's daily average of 140,000 arrivals and departures. Some passengers waited up to an hour before being allowed to deplane, others embarked while their luggage did not.
    By Tuesday, piles of hundreds of suitcases cluttered the airport in time to greet James Hogan, the CEO of Abu Dhabi-based Etihad Airways, who arrived in Rome for talks finalizing a major deal with the troubled Italian flag carrier.
    Etihad is set to invest about 560 million euros to take a 49% stake in Alitalia in what Italy's Transport Minister Maurizio Lupi has described as a life-saving deal that will keep the carrier from falling into the abyss.
    Most unions representing Alitalia workers have accepted Etihad's demands for job cuts, and in some cases other positions have been offered to try to cushion the blow. Airport manager Aeroporti di Roma (AdR) on Tuesday sent out 200 ground crew, who worked overnight to sort some 1,000 units of luggage in time for Wednesday's flights, as authorities threatened striking ground crews with a back-to-work injunction.
    Late on Tuesday night, CGIL Filt union organizers canceled ground-crew assemblies planned for Wednesday and Thursday "in view of the critical situation at Fiumicino today (Tuesday)".