Lockheed Martin’s flagship F-35 Joint Strike Fighter is facing more bad news, as contractors working at the company’s Italian assembly line recently announced plans for a strike set to take place on Tuesday.
Lockheed and its local partners employ over 600 workers at Italy’s Cameri Air Base, which is where the final assembly work is done on F-35s destined to join the Italian armed forces. However, only 270 members of the staff are formal employees, with the rest working on the fifth generation fighter as contractors working for a third-party agency known as Leonardo.
“There is no job security for staff,” said Sergio Busca a representative of the UILM union that planned the strike. “Leonardo has long promised to hire them, but we are getting frustrated.”
Thus far, the Italian defense firm has partnered with Lockheed to complete construction on nine total F-35s; a paltry number compared to the total of 60 F-35As and 60 F-35Bs sold to the Italian government, let alone the 29 additional F-35A’s scheduled to be built on site for transfer to the Royal Netherlands Air Force.