Alitalia unions confirmed their strike call Monday after a government-mediated meeting with management over the loss-making airline's turnaround plan failed to bring the two sides to an agreement.

The plan, unveiled last week, would slash operating costs by 1 billion euros (just over 1 billion dollars) and cut 2,000 office and ground staff by the end of 2019, prompting unions to call a strike on April 5.

"We reject the business plan and confirm the strike," Filt-CGIL union chief Nino Cortorillo told RAI TV public broadcaster after the meeting. "The management plan smacks of a financial clean-up operation that could be a prelude to putting the company up for sale."

Cortorillo said the government has agreed to mediate a series of "technical talks" to thrash out a deal with management.

The airline, which currently employs 12,500 globally, said in a statement the redundancies "are painful but necessary."

United Arab Emirates carrier Etihad owns 49 per cent of Alitalia, with Italian shareholders led by the UniCredit and Intesa Sanpaolo banks owning the majority stake.

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