GFT WORKERS PROTEST

Byline: Samantha Conti

MILAN — About 300 workers from the Italian clothing manufacturer GFT staged a protest Thursday at the headquarters of their parent company, Holding di Partecipazioni Industriali, voicing fears about job cuts and calling HdP’s chief executive, Maurizio Romiti “The Terminator.” The protesters, most of them women, carried red, white and green banners, blew whistles, and blocked morning traffic in front of the offices of HdP, which is also the parent of Valentino and Fila.
An HdP spokeswoman declined to comment on the protest, which took place as the group’s board met to approve the group’s results for last year.
The protest came in the wake of recent statements by Romiti that HdP would be focusing mainly on its more lucrative publishing and editorial businesses in the future. Since its birth in 1997, HdP’s fashion division has produced weak earnings and disappointed shareholders; over the past year Romiti has increasingly distanced himself from his plan to build a major fashion group.
The protesters said they feared that GFT, which holds the license to produce Calvin Klein’s men’s wear, as well as other brands, would be sold or shuttered, and that more than 1,200 jobs would be lost.