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Gucci design studio strikes move to Milan



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Some 40 artisans from Gucci's design studio downed tools Monday in the creatives' first ever strike, held over plans to move much of the team from Rome to Milan.

The Italian luxury brand, owned by French group Kering, said in October it was transferring 153 of its 219 design employees from the capital to Milan, a move the strikers claim is "a mass redundancy in disguise".

"Gucci cuts but doesn't sew", read one banner held aloft by demonstrators outside one of the Rome offices, while another read: "At Gucci, redundancy is fashionable".

"The style office is the heart of Gucci, where the designers and couturiers work, and this is where all the collections are born. This is the first strike in its history," Chiara Giannotti, a union representative for the brand, told AFP ahead of the four-hour strike.

Last week, over 50 Gucci artisans joined a national strike organised by Italy's largest trade unions, Giannotti said.

"Kering wants to take advantage of this restructuring to reduce staff numbers and push out employees who have been offered unsatisfactory conditions or who cannot leave Rome because they have their families and children there," she said.

Gucci told AFP the move "does not envisage any reduction in personnel and will be implemented in full compliance with current regulations". It has also provided "a series of economic and support measures" to affected staff, the company said.

While 153 employees are due to be transferred to Milan by March, the fate of the 66 other artisans due to remain in Rome "is uncertain", according to the unions.

"We are demanding the same conditions for all as part of the transfer to Milan, or else the relocation of employees to other Kering companies in Rome or Florence", said Giannotti.

Gucci changed its artistic director in January, bringing in Sabato De Sarno to replace Alessandro Michele, who transformed the label over seven years with his eccentric, gender-fluid designs and offbeat shows.(AFP)