'Black Friday': Travel chaos across Italy as public services go on strike

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'Black Friday': Travel chaos across Italy as public services go on strike
Trying to hail a taxi during a previous public transport strike in Rome. Photo: Filippo Monteforte/AFP

Air, road and rail travel, as well as public schools, museums and waste collection services, were disrupted across Italy on Friday due to a 24-hour strike.


On a day dubbed 'il venerdì nero' – Black Friday – more than 200 international and domestic flights were cancelled by Alitalia alone, while Easyjet was also expecting cancellations and delays.

READ ALSO: Hundreds of flights to and from Italy cancelled in transport strike

Meanwhile trains, buses and ferries are running severely reduced services as trade unions called coordinated strikes to demand better pay and working conditions. Motorway staff also joined the industrial action, making delays likely as traffic trickles through a reduced number of toll booths. 

Nationwide strike action:

  • Airlines: from 00:01 to 24:00 on Friday 25th.
  • Trains: rail strike from 21:00 on Thursday 24th to 21:00 on Friday 25th.
  • Ferries: throughout Friday 25th.
  • Motorways: strike from 22:00 on Thursday 24th to 22:00 on Friday 25th.

Other public services were also disrupted, notably in Rome, where rubbish collectors, museum workers, lawyers and school maintenance workers joined the strike.

An estimated 75 percent of staff at Rome's beleaguered waste management company Ama downed tools, the CGIL union said. Residents have been urged not to throw out their garbage until Saturday, when collections are due to resume.

The capital's metro line C was closed entirely on Friday, while other routes were running heavily reduced services. Buses were also expected to operate with severe delays.

Most public nurseries and some schools in Rome remained closed amid a shortage of janitors.

The city-run museums, which include the Capitoline Museums, Gallery of Modern Art and the Museum of Rome, warned of likely disruption throughout the day, while tourist information booths were shuttered for lack of staff.

Mayor Virginia Raggi, who is regularly accused of exacerbating Rome's chronic problems through mismanagement, on Friday accused unions of seeking to hold the city's residents hostage with more "unjustified strikes". 

Naples was also hit hard, with the metro line 1 closed from 11am onwards and more than a dozen bus routes severely disrupted or scrapped altogether. 

Problems were also reported on all four of the city's funicular lines.

In Milan the metro is expected to run until 6pm, after which lines may be closed, warned public transport company ATM.

Buses and trams are operating but with possible delays and diversions.

Delays and cancellations are expected on regional train services in and around Milan, including the line to the city's Malpensa airport. Replacement bus services will substitute some of the trains to the airport.

Most public transport companies have promised to guarantee minimum service during morning and evening rush hour, the chances of delays and cancellations are high.

Anyone planning to travel on Friday should check the latest updates from their ticket provider and Italy's Ministry of Transport before setting off, and expect the journey to take longer than usual. 

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


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