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UPDATE: Italian unions suspend Friday airport strikes due to floods

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UPDATE: Italian unions suspend Friday airport strikes due to floods
An ITA Airways Airbus A320-272N plane takes off from Rome's Fiumicino airport. The airline has cancelled more than 100 flights ahead of an air sector strike on Friday. (Photo by Filippo MONTEFORTE / AFP)

Unions cancelled a planned 24-hour nationwide strike at airports in Italy on Friday following devastating floods in the north of the country, the transport minister said on Thursday.


The air transport sector strike scheduled for Friday, May 19th, has been suspended after the government asked unions to reconsider in light of disastrous flooding this week, Italy's transport and infrastructure minister Matteo Salvini told the lower house of parliament on Thursday.

"I would like to thank the trade unions of Cgil, Cisl, Uil and Ugl who, after our request, have decided to postpone the strike until June," he said, according to Italian newspaper La Repubblica.

Airport handling staff were scheduled to hold a 24-hour walkout on Friday, expected to impact all of Italy's major airports.

The announcement came shortly after Italy's strike regulator said on Thursday that all protests had been cancelled in the flood-hit Emilia Romagna region.

READ ALSO: 'Shocking disaster': Rescue efforts continue after floods in northern Italy

"We have postponed the strike scheduled for tomorrow, Friday May 19th, by the airport handling workers", Italian unions Cgil, Cisl, Uil and Ugl confirmed in a joint statement on Thursday evening.

"The decision was made following the dramatic situation in Emilia Romagna, an emergency of a national nature which, from the point of view of transport, affected the entire Adriatic line causing both road and rail blockades," they said, adding that the strike would be rescheduled for June 4th.

However, two Italian unions, CUB and USB, said their protests would go ahead on Friday, though CUB stressed that it had already cancelled planned strikes in Emilia Romagna on Wednesday.

"For this reason we were very surprised by the letter sent this afternoon by Minister Salvini calling for the revocation of the entire national strike," the union said.


Any protests that go ahead on Friday were expected to be on a much smaller scale than previously planned, and it was unclear how many staff still planned to take part.

Italian airline ITA had already cancelled 113 domestic flights on Friday, though it said 68 percent of passengers were rebooked on different flights.

Cabin crew from several airlines were also scheduled to hold separate protests on Friday, and there was no word as to whether or not these were also cancelled.

You can keep up to date with the latest strike news from Italy HERE.


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