Roberto Cavalli RTW Fall 2020

MILAN The gloves are off.

The Femca Cisl and Filctem Cgil unions on Wednesday declared Roberto Cavalli’s decision to move its headquarters from Osmannoro, outside Florence, to Milan as a strategy of “layoffs masked by a proposal of a mass transfer.” This would entail the relocation of 170 employees, starting from September.

The unions said they will continue to oppose this procedure, which has been made official, and once again asked to see the company’s new industrial plan. A new meeting with Cavalli’s management will be held at association Confindustria’s offices on Friday.

“In the digital and COVID-19 era, the new Roberto Cavalli is the only company in the country that thinks it is strategic to move 170 families from Florence to Milan because the administration of digital services is there,” stated Mirko Zacchei and Luca Barbetti of Femca-Cisl and Filctem-Cgil Firenze. “While we are not entrepreneurs, we believe that all companies are saying the opposite: precisely through the digital channel and because of the needs induced by this particular situation, they are emphasizing the value and the importance of smart working.”

While the company did not respond to the statement issued by the unions on Wednesday, a source close to the firm said that Roberto Cavalli “confirms the intention to give continuity to all the employment relationships ensuring to all the employees the application of the treatments, terms and conditions provided for by the relevant Contratto Nazionale dell’Industria Tessile [the national textile industry contract] in case of transfer.”

The unions have been underscoring for months the connections of the Roberto Cavalli fashion brand to Florence and its surrounding territory. They claim the new owner, the founder and chairman of Damac Properties, Hussain Sajwani, through his private investment company Vision Investments, plans to close the headquarters in Osmannoro “without technical or financial reasons, without a development or relaunch plan and without a real reason, unless it thinks it is not compatible with the vocation of the territory. It is obvious to all that this is not the case: fashion companies that choose Florence and its territory are increasingly more and more.”

Zacchei and Barbetti also lamented the media leaks about the industrial plan, which has not been presented to the representatives of the employees and to the Tuscan region. “This is a very serious behavior that shows absolute insensitivity and lack of respect for the institutions,” they said, requesting proper negotiations with the unions. As reported, sources close to the company say that Roberto Cavalli will continue to operate in the luxury sector and maintain its production in Italy. It is also planning investments in the development of digital platforms, including e-commerce.

Back in 2016, with the goal to streamline its company structure, Cavalli said it was closing its Milan corporate and design offices and would transfer all functions to Tuscany, with a rationalization of production and logistics.

Vision Investments, part of the Dico Group, is an evolution of a partnership that was signed in 2017 between Cavalli and the Dico Group for the development of Cavalli interiors for luxury hotels under the Aykon brand. The namesake founder of the brand is no longer involved in the Italian company.