Italy cracks down on strikes at monuments

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Italy's historical sites have been reclassified as essential services to prevent embarrassing strikes. Photo: Gabriel Buoys/AFP
11:23 CET+01:00
Italy has passed a law limiting workers' strikes at some of its prized monuments following embarrassing debacles at both the Colosseum and Pompeii.

An emergency decree was passed by the Italian senate on Thursday, reclassifying the country's historical sites as essential services, therefore making it harder for workers to strike.

The move, dubbed the 'Colosseum' decree, comes after two unannounced strikes were held earlier this year by workers at the Rome monument and the ancient ruins of Pompeii.

The strikes led to thousands of disappointed tourists being stranded outside the closed gates of the famous monuments, causing national embarrassment.

The new law reclassifies cultural heritage sites alongside other essential services, such as infrastructure and healthcare.

In such 'essential' sectors, strikes can be organized by unions but only with prior warning and providing that a minimum level of service is guaranteed to the public.

Italian Culture Minister Dario Franceschini told La Stampa the decree was “a victory for civility which does not harm in any way the rights of workers.”

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“It will still allow for organized strikes while protecting the rights of citizens to make use of these essential services,” the minister added.

Italy's upper house approved the decree by 137 votes to 67.

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