(AGI) Rome, June 4 - Alitalia will hire 310 people on apermanent basis before the end of the year, labour unionsources told AGI after a meeting between the two parties onThursday. The new contracts will involve the maintenancesector, with 140 contracts for former employees, and 170 forground personnel. Of these last 170, 115 will be offered toseasonal employees and the remaining 55 to former workers. Thepositive news of an agreement between Alitalia and the unionscoincided with Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi's visit toFiumicino airport, where he gave a speech during the unveilingof Alitalia's new brand symbol. Other union sources saidAlitalia will also hire some 30 flight personnel, half of thempilots and the other half flight assistants, destined toincrease service on Alitalia's regional Cityliner. "This is thenew Alitalia's first, important step in terms of employment,the first tangible sign of a fresh start that many of us hopedfor," said the FIT-CISL union's national coordinator for airtransport, Emiliano Fiorentino. "We still have a long roadahead of us, but we can start seeing the difficult year we haveleft behind with new eyes," he stated after the lengthy meetingbetween Alitalia and the FILT-CGIL, FIT-CISL, UilTrasporti andUgl Trasporto Areo unions. "Rather than an empty sacrifice, theprice workers paid last year was probably the basis for a newbeginning. Now we expect other companies to honour thecommitments on employment they made before the government inJuly of 2014." Premier Renzi told Etihad's CEO, James Hogan,during his speech: "We had some disagreements and even somedifficult moments last year, but I believe the future is trulybeginning now, so I'd like to thank Etihad for believing inItaly and Alitalia." He went on to say, "If there's a page inItaly's history in which it did both its best and its worst interms of vision and strategy, for many reasons largelyattributable to politics, it's the one dedicated to Alitalia.In the 1970s, it was probably the world's foremost company, butwe lost some opportunities in recent years." Renzi added,"Today, for the first time, our project is looking at anopportunity in a non-occasional, non-instrumental way: theopportunity to be ourselves.". .