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Italy faces Friday train strike after five railway workers killed

Italy's president travelled to scene of tragedy at Brandizzo

Italian trade unions representing rail workers have called a four-hour nationwide strike after five maintenance workers were killed while fixing railway tracks near Turin on Wednesday night.

The strike action involves employees of Italy’s train network infrastructure manager Rete Ferroviaria Italiana (RFI) in response to the tragedy at Brandizzo station on the main Milan-Turin railway line.

"Indignation and condolences are no longer enough, it is time to act, this massacre must be stopped immediately", the general secretary of the CGIL union Maurizio Landini stated.

Investigations are underway after a train, travelling at 160 km/h, hit and killed the five workers as they carried out overnight maintenance on Wednesday. Two other workers were injured.

Italian president Sergio Mattarella, who on Thursday visited the scene of the tragedy, said that "dying at work is an affront to the values of coexistence".

Prime minister Giorgia Meloni offered her "deepest condolences" and called for full light to be shed into the dynamics of the incident.

Claudio Tarlazzi, the general secretary of transport union Uiltrasporti, said the accident was "shameful and unworthy of a civilised country".

RFI expressed its “dismay and deep sorrow” and sent condolences to the families of the deceased workers, who were aged between 22 and 53 and were all employees of the Sigifer company.

FS News reported on Thursday that the train was permitted to reach a speed of  up to 160 km/h on that stretch of track but specified that "the works - according to the procedure - should have started only after that train had passed."

A statement published on the Trenitalia website on Friday morning read: "At the moment, the railway traffic is regular on the whole national network."

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