Italy - General Strike March 8

6 Mar 2018

Unionised transport and aviation employees in Italy are planning a nationwide general strike March 8 to mark International Women's Day. Air, bus, metro, rail, and tram workers are planning to participate in the labor action. 

Workers at Rome's Leonardo da Vinci-Fiumicino (FCO) and Ciampino (CIA) airports, along with Alitalia (AZ) personnel nationwide, are planning to strike 0001-2359 on the day. Staff at other Italian airports are likely to join the action. Air Italy/Meridiana (I9) employees are planning a four-hour walkout 1200-1600. ENAV air-traffic controllers intend to walk out 1300-1700. Flight delays and cancellations are likely at Italian airports. Flight services that do operate are likely to be overbooked. Lengthy passenger processing delays are probable at affected airports. 

Railway workers affiliated with the Unione Sindacale Italiana (USI) will also strike nationwide 000-2100. Trenitalia has warned that rail cancellations are possible on most services, though they expect long-distance Frecce services to be minimally impacted. Short and long-haul freight and passenger rail routes will likely be subject to delays, schedule changes, and cancellations. Rail transport disruptions could begin several hours before the scheduled strike start time as operators position stock in preparation for altered timetables. Mass transit workers affiliated with Cobas and various other unions will also strike in major urban centers. Bus, metro, and tram services operated by Atac in Rome will be severely impacted, as will suburban rail services. Lingering disruptions are also possible after the strikes end. 

Strike participants are planning to gather at the Colosseum in Rome at 1700 and then intend to march through the central area of the city. The event is likely to be well-supported and could see a large turnout. Striking workers could stage demonstrations in other urban centers; while clashes are unlikely, the presence of large numbers of protesters could prompt some localized and short-duration road disruptions. 

Strikes and demonstrations backed by the Cobas and USI unions can draw considerable support, and the strike action will likely be well-observed. Nevertheless, the public transport strikes are unlikely to be crippling because Italian law requires that a minimum level of service be maintained, particularly during morning and evening rush hours. While strikes in Italy are often canceled at the last minute, further transport strikes could also be called at short notice. Should the action proceed, traffic congestion is likely in Italian cities as passengers are forced to use private vehicles. Expect long wait times for available taxis at Italian airports. 

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