Many of you may have grown up with “Irish Jokes” (like the one about the Irish schoolboy who ate his lunch money). Here in Australia, they’re about New Zealanders (called “Kiwi Jokes”) and in the USA they were “Polish Jokes”. Then there are the “Blond Jokes” and I’ve even heard people use “Martian Jokes” in case they’re standing next to a blond Irish Kiwi who’s of Polish descent.
Well, move over the lot of them ‘cos the new name for anything related to stupidity has to be “Alitalia Employee Jokes.”
I’m sure you’ve all heard of Alitalia, the Italian flag carrier airline that, despite the best efforts of its staff and the Italian government, has managed to survive until recently. For years Alitalia was on the edge of going under and various corporations & other airlines would come in and offer to buy it out, but every time some group would block the deal (typically the unions, but sometimes a government group would object, occasionally they all would). As it finally lay dying in mid-2008, hemorrhaging cash and cancelling flights, it still managed to fight off those who came to try to rescue it. Multiple groups came to offer assistance but left, unwilling to deal with the unions & government terms. Even after the government stopped being dorks and got out of the way, the unions kept souring the deal, until finally in August 2008, Alitalia went bankrupt.
After a few months a new, privatised Alitalia emerged in January 2009 and you’d think that everyone involved in the old Alitalia would have woken up, realised the world doesn’t revolve around them and that their old ways of working don’t mesh well with reality. Usually people “wake up and smell the roses” after more than half their co-workers have wound up unemployed. Sadly, this is not the case.
I have just read that one week after the new Alitalia started flights, the first strike has hit. Admittedly it only cancelled four flights but still, it’s a strike.
Are these people insane? Their airline has just started flying again after going right to the edge of destruction. They have a job but many of their previous coworkers do not. Their airline’s image is shot to hell and many are cautious about flying on it (not for security or safety, but because it may not be around to fly them back home). How can they possibly think that repeating the steps that took them to disaster will work this time around???
I’m a Kiwi of Irish descent who likes to drink good Polish vodka (there may even be Italian in my heritage somewhere) but even I don’t get this attitude & behaviour.