July 2, 2014 / 1:45 PM / in 4 years

Italian govt, unions aim for deal on Alitalia job cuts next week - minister

ROME, July 2 (Reuters) - Italy’s government and labour unions aim to reach an agreement over jobs at indebted airline Alitalia by the end of next week, transport minister Maurizio Lupi said on Wednesday.

Abu Dhabi carrier Etihad has demanded cuts to Alitalia’s staff of some 14,000 as a condition for a planned investment to return the Italian flag carrier to profit after it received a 500 million euro ($682 million) state bailout last year.

“We must agree by the end of next week, also because the chief executive of Etihad will be in Italy. By that date everyone must have taken on their own responsibility,” Lupi said after a meeting in Rome with trade union organisations.

Lupi said the unions had suggested giving some Alitalia staff jobs elsewhere in the sector, but that companies including airport operator Aeroporti di Roma and mail service Poste Italiane could not take on staff they do not need.

Etihad has asked Alitalia, which has turned an annual profit only a few times in its 68-year history, to fire around 2,000 employees.

The agreement over redundancies due to be struck next week will come into force if the deal with Etihad is finalised, a union source said. ($1 = 0.7331 euros) (Reporting by Alberto Sisto, writing by Isla Binnie; Editing by Susan Fenton)

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