Scores of Gucci employees have mounted a historic strike in protest against plans to relocate a huge part of its design studio team from Rome to Milan.
Around 50 workers at the luxury fashion empire who have walked out in Italy have branded the move as “mass redundancy in disguise”, with their action the first downing of tools by creative professionals in the fashion giant’s 102-year history.
Protesters outside the Rome offices have been holding up banners with the message: “Gucci cuts but doesn’t sew” – and “At Gucci, redundancy is fashionable.”
Federica Ricci, regional secretary at the Filctem-Cgil union in the Lazio region, told The Guardian: “For us, this is a collective dismissal because not everyone has been offered the conditions to allow for a transfer, so many people will lose their jobs.”
Owned by the French-based luxury goods group Kering, it was announced in October Gucci would be moving 153 of its 219 design employees from the Italian capital to Milan, 380 miles away in Lombardy.
Employees staged a four-hour strike on Monday (27.11.23) , with union representative Chiara Giannotti saying the design office in Rome is the heart of Gucci, where designers and couturiers work and where all collections are born.
She claimed Kering was taking advantage of the restructuring to reduce staff numbers and push out employees who had been offered unsatisfactory conditions or could not leave Rome because of family obligations.
Not all employees were in a position to move to another city within a few months – especially those with children or single parents, and risked being left without alternatives.
The unions have demanded that the company reconsider its decision, arguing the fate of the 66 other employees who are expected to remain in Rome is also uncertain.
Gucci said the relocation did “not envisage any reduction in personnel” and would be “implemented in full compliance with current regulations”.
The company added that it had also provided economic and support measures for affected staff.