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Strikes For Members

How is travel in Italy being affected by strikes on Friday?

Clare Speak
Clare Speak - [email protected]
How is travel in Italy being affected by strikes on Friday?
Bus services in Rome, Milan and other Italian cities are expected to be disrupted by strike action on Friday. (Photo by Andreas SOLARO / AFP)

Commuters in Italy faced more disruption from strikes on Friday, December 15th, despite Transport Minister Matteo Salvini's injunction limiting the action to a four-hour window.

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A strike by unions representing Italy's transport workers was set to go ahead on Friday, despite an ordinance issued by Transport Minister Matteo Salvini on Tuesday evening limiting the protest to just four hours.

As a result, the planned 24-hour nationwide action due to affect bus, subway and tram services at the start of one of the busiest travel and shopping weekends of the year was confined to the window between 9am and 1pm.

Services still risked being delayed during other parts of the day, and the injunction did not apply to local transport strikes such as the 24-hour walkout called by BusItalia staff in Umbria, newspaper Corriere della Sera reported.

The strike had already been postponed once before on November 27th after Salvini issued another injunction limiting it to four hours.

READ ALSO: The strikes affecting travel in Italy in December 2023

Union USB said that its members would symbolically strike for 24 hours and attend a national demonstration in Rome starting at 5pm, risking a fine that would allow the union to challenge the minister's order in court.

As usual with strikes in Italy, there was little indication ahead of time as to which services might face disruption - it mainly depends on how many workers decide to take part on the day.

Public transport

Milan, Rome and Naples were expected to be among the most heavily affected cities.

The strike was expected to affect bus, subway, tram and commuter train services, but shouldn’t impact taxis.

Rome transport network operator ATAC announced on X, formerly Twitter, that metro lines A and C would be closed during the strike window. Metro lines B and B1 would continue to operate, it said, but delays and disruptions could occur until 1pm.

In Milan, transport operator ATM announced that the M3 (yellow) metro line would close, but the M1, M2, M4 and M5 lines would remain open, and buses and trams would also remain in service.

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Naples public transport provider AMN, meanwhile, said its staff would keep the 24-hour strike in line with USB's defiance of Salvini's order, though services would run at the 'protected' times of 5.30-8.30am and 5pm-8pm.

Under Italian law, a minimum number of transport services are guaranteed to run at peak commute hours during strikes, meaning local trains, buses and other services are supposed to be unaffected during parts of the early morning and late afternoon (known as ‘protected time bands’ or fasce protette).

There was a possibility, according to multiple Italian media outlets, that drivers throughout the country would protest the transport minister's ban by deliberately driving as slowly as possible.

Passengers planning to travel by public transport in Italy on Friday were advised to leave extra time for their journey and check the status of their service with the operator before setting off.

Trains

Local trains in Italy's northern Trentino Alto Adige area were set to be affected by Friday's strike, according to national train operator Trenitalia.

And trains on the Settimo – Rivarolo line connecting Genoa to Turin were also subject to changes or cancellations in the 9am-1pm strike window.

Most interregional, intercity and long-distance trains were not expected to be impacted by the walkout.

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Flights

Friday's strike was not expected to affect flights or airports in Italy, though passengers may want to double-check airport shuttle buses and trains are running as scheduled.

On Sunday, December 17th, a planned four-hour strike by baggage handlers at Milan Linate and Milan Malpensa airports may cause delays at check-in desks and luggage collection between 1pm to 5pm.

Keep up with the latest updates in The Local's Italian strike news section.

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