Rome tourists battle strikes in heat wave

In addition to the heat on 20 June tourists had to contend with lightening labour protests at the Colosseum, the Baths of Diocletian and Caracalla, as well as at Leonardo da Vinci international airport.

The strike at the archaeological sites was in protest at staff shortages on weekend and holiday openings. According to the unions not enough staff are available to manage the museums and sites on these days, making it a security risk for all – the sites, the staff and the tourists.

A moratorium on all new employment contracts at the ministry of culture, as well as the retirement of qualified managers, has led to staff shortages as well as a growing lack of expertise in a highly-specialised ministry which, unlike many others, comes into direct contact with the public on a daily basis.

At the airport the delays were caused by employees of ground handling agent GroundCare protesting about delayed payment of salaries and layoff (cassa integrazione) subsidies. The protest caused backups of several hours not only in baggage handling but also in the arrival and departure of about 30 flights. Another six such protests are scheduled during the next few days.

On Monday 24 June Rome will also have to cope with a public transport strike. However the good news is that temperatures are due to drop next week to the upper 20ºC from the mid 30ºC of this week.