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Italian taxi drivers to stage national strike on November 7th

Taxi drivers across Italy will go on strike on November 7th in protest over delays by the transport ministry to update regulations governing private car hire services.

Italian taxi drivers to stage national strike on November 7th
Italian taxi drivers will stage a national strike on November 7th. Photo: Andreas Solaro/AFP

Unions said the strike was a protest over “unkept promises” by the ministry after it pledged to update Law 21, a transportation law which dates back to 1992, in March in return for taxi drivers ending a six-day strike.

Taxi drivers claim private car-hire and car-share services benefit favourably from rules entwined in the law regarding tariffs and licenses.

Currently, private taxi drivers, known as NCC, can purchase licenses in smaller towns, where they cost less, but use them to work in cities.

Alessandro Atzeni, the national secretary for the transport union Uil, said drivers are calling for a “regulatory equilibrium in the taxi and NCC sector”.

The move follows the Italian taxi drivers’ victory over the ride-sharing app Uber, whose low-cost Uber Pop service, which allowed users to order a lift from a driver without a commercial licence, was banned across the country in 2015 when a Milan court ruled it created unfair competition.

Taxi associations then tried to rid the market of Uber’s remaining apps, such as the premium Uber Black service, which uses NCC drivers. But their plans were thwarted in May when a Rome court lifted a temporary ban blocking the service, leaving Uber free to operate since then, but only in Milan and Rome.

  

PROTESTS

Strikes in Italy cause public transport misery and flight cancellations

Some 127 Alitalia flights have been cancelled on Monday and public transport has been disrupted across the country amid a 24-hour general strike, Italian media reports.

Arrival and departure boards show delayed and cancelled trains at Rome Termini station on October 11th during a general strike.
Arrival and departure boards show delayed and cancelled trains at Rome Termini station on October 11th during a general strike. Photo: Tiziana Fabi/AFP

Italian national carrier Alitalia confirmed in a statement that 127 national and international flights had been cancelled on Monday, with a further 11 cancellations on Tuesday due to the strike action.

Alitalia said it would be switching to bigger aircraft and rebooking flights, and advised passengers who were affected “to check on which flight they have been rebooked by logging in to the website www.alitalia.com and entering their name, surname and booking code in the ‘my flights’ section on the home page.”

READ ALSO: What are my rights in Italy if a flight is cancelled or delayed?

There were no reports of flight cancellations by other airlines, though there may be some delays or disruption on the ground at Italian airports with some staff on strike.

Meanwhile the city centres of Milan and Rome were jammed with traffic as many people opted to use cars amid fears of local public transport disruption.

Milan’s metro is operating on a normal schedule, stated city transport company ATM: “The service is continuing on all underground lines. Traffic could slow down the circulation of surface lines.” 

Rome’s metro system is operating “in fits and starts” on Monday, news agency Ansa reports, with line C closed and lines A and B operating on reduced service.

Trams and other forms of public transport in Milan may face delays due to heavy traffic, the city transport company warns. Photo: Marco Bertorello/AFP

Some roads and central squares in Rome are also closed to traffic on Monday because of demonstrations, including Piazza della Repubblica and Piazza Madonna di Loret.

Thousands of people are expected to march in Rome, where a heavy police presence was reported following violence on Saturday after a demonstration against vaccines and the green pass system.

Roads have also been blocked due to marches in other cities including Naples and Genova on Monday morning.

Alitalia workers in Rome hold a banner reading “All aboard. No to the ITA plan”. Photo: Tiziana FABI/AFP

The 24-hour general strike, for both public and private sector workers, was called by several of Italy’s national and regional trade unions to protest government labour and economic policies, including those on working hours and pensions, as well as calling for more investment in schools and transport.

Alitalia staff also took to the streets to protest the planned closure of the airline, which is set to end operations on Thursday and be replaced by new national carrier ITA from Friday.

The unions have stated in recent days that this is not a demonstration against the green pass, and sought to distance themselves from the violent protests seen in Rome and Milan this weekend, Ansa reports.

IN PICTURES: Demonstrators and far right clash with police in Rome after green pass protest

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