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Italy transport minister curbs Friday strike amid clash with unions

War of words between trade union leader and transport minister over strike on 17 November.

The Italian government has reduced to four hours a planned 24-hour national strike affecting the public transport sector on Friday 17 November.

The strike, which is also set to affect the education and health sectors, has been called by two of Italy's main trade unions, CGIL and UIL, to demand salary increases and to protest against the government's 2024 budget bill.

The industrial action involving public transport workers was curtailed after Italy's deputy premier and transport minister Matteo Salvini stepped in by issuing an injunction on Tuesday night.

In a statement, the transport ministry said the order signed by Salvini allows strikes between 09.00 and 13.00 on Friday "for the entire transport sector, with the exception of the aviation sector where the unions had already confirmed a change of heart".

"We wanted to find a balance between the right to strike and the right to work and mobility", Salvini wrote on X, claiming that the injunction "protects the rights of 20 million workers, citizens and commuters."

The move follows a war of words in recent days between Salvini and CGIL leader Maurizio Landini, and comes after the national strike watchdog urged the unions to limit their protest to avoid too much disruption.

Salvini had warned last Saturday that the industrial dispute could not be allowed to "paralyse the transport sector for the entire day", noting caustically that the strike "just happened to be before the weekend as usual".

Landini hit back and claimed that Salvini has "never worked a day in his life", insisting that the right to strike is guaranteed by the constitution and "serves to defend the dignity of working people."

“We must also have respect because those who will strike are those who keep the country afloat, pay taxes" - Landini stated - "Salvini should know that in this country working people are poor and that 60 per cent of people don't make it to the end of the month."

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

Photo Wanted in Rome: Stazione Termini, 26 September 2023.

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