Italy faced a nationwide stoppage on the railways for three hours yesterday (Tuesday, December 15) as part of a wave of strikes brought against the four month old coalition government for failing to implement social reforms.
Italy faced a nationwide stoppage on the railways for three hours yesterday (Tuesday, December 15) as part of a wave of strikes brought against the four month old coalition government for failing to implement social reforms. Several Italian cities, including the capital, Rome, and eleven of the country's 20 regions were affected by yesterday's strikes.
The nationwide three-hour railway strike produced chaos at railway stations during the lunchtime rush-hours. Public transport buses were also on strike, so several private operators put on unscheduled transport. Military vehicles were allocated by the government to help ease the situation but the number was very small. Private lorries also provided a means of transport instead of the usual trains or buses, but the demand far exceeded supply.
The strikes were called by Italy's three large trade union confederations to demand swift action by the Christian-Democrat led coalition government in implementing reforms in health services, housing taxation, public transport and regional development. The stoppages are part of a six-day series of staggered strikes affecting the whole country, but yesterday saw the biggest strike action since last spring.
In several regions, including those of Rome and Milan, no newspapers were published yesterday morning because of a 24-hour strike by printers. Journalists announced another strike for today (Wednesday December 16) preventing publication of the Wednesday evening and Thursday morning papers throughout the country. It will also affect the domestic news agencies for 24 hours, and follows a similar strike last weekend when negotiations with employers broke down over a new national work contract for journalists.
The four-party alliance of the Italian Government has experienced difficulties with internal disagreements in three important centres of local government -- the regional governments of Sardinia and Sicily, and the Municipal Council of Milan.