Costa Cruises reassures Italy over job loss fears

By ,   February 16, 2015 ,   Cruise Industry

According to Reuters, a unit of Costa Cruises - one of the biggest cruise operators in the world, sought to reassure Italy last week that plans to transfer some operations to Germany didn’t mean moving abroad.

Costa Cruises is part of Carnival Corp., currently based in Genoa, northern Italy. Transport workers union FIT-CISL is concerned that the transfer plan of the company means job losses.

Unions fear that the transfer to Hamburg of 4 Costa units would result in the loss of 161 jobs. At a meeting in Rome the Italian transport minister Maurizio Lupi invited Michael Thamm, Costa chief, to discuss the matter.

After the meeting Thamm told reporters that they were the only line flying the Italian flag and paying taxes in Italy, so they were going to keep the heart, soul and brain of their company in Italy.

National coordinator for FIT-CISL's maritime transport division Giovanni Olivieri said after the meeting that there were lots of lovely words but they didn’t get a proper response. The unions didn’t participate in the meeting.

Union members say that Costa indicated in January 161 jobs to be affected by the move of units to Germany and were afraid this was the tip of the iceberg.

In an interview published in Il Secolo XIX (Genoa-based newspaper), Michael Thamm said that 3,700 Italians worked for Costa Cruises and the reorganization would affect up to 3 percent of the employees.

Costa chief also said that in 2012 the company had “lived through an ugly moment", a reference to Costa Concordia which struck rocks and capsized off the island of Giglio, killing 32 people. Concordia's captain Francesco Schettino was sentenced to 16 years in jail. 

The economy of Italy has not grown for three years and a half, unemployment is obstinately  high.