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Italy transport minister curtails Friday strike

Move stokes tensions between unions and government.

Italy's transport minister Matteo Salvini has once again issued an injunction to limit a planned 24-hour strike by public transport workers on Friday 15 December.

Salvini signed the order on Tuesday night, reducing the protest to four hours, in a move that is likely to inflame already tense relations between trade unions and the government.

"The right to ask for more adequate wages is sacrosanct, but this cannot paralyse Italy for an entire day, close to Christmas" - Salvini said in a video posted on social media - "As transport minister I must guarantee mobility to the 20 million Italians who take public transport every day: it is my right but also my duty."

Salvini last month used the same mechanism to limit a 24-hour industrial action planned for Monday 27 November, prompting unions to postponed their strike to 15 December rather than accept the four-hour limit imposed by the transport minister.

It was unclear on Wednesday morning how the unions would react to the latest order limiting their strike which they had called to demand better pay, improved working conditions, increased safety in the workplace and to fight against privatisation.

If it goes ahead the dispute is set to affect local bus, subway and tram services, with strike timetables varying in Rome, Milan and other cities across Italy.

For official information about public transport strikes in Italy see the transport ministry website.

Photo: Only Fabrizio / Shutterstock.com.

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