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Mass Transport Strike Hits Italy

Second strike in less than two months

Public transport was paralyzed across Italy on July 7 after workers launched a 24-hour strike to press for negotiations on a new collective bargaining contract.

Trade unions said the walk-out had brought 82% of trains, buses and urban metro services to a halt, while main operators Astra and Anav said between 60% and 100% of employees had obeyed the strike call.

The strike affected different transport sectors, with national railway workers off the job from 9:00 pm Sunday. In Rome and other main cities a minimum service ran in the morning and evening as required by the law.

The action caused huge traffic jams as commuters turned to their cars, while in Naples van owners were operating an informal and illegal taxi service.

Airline unions had initially planned to join the action but decided to delay their strike until July 18 to avoid causing too much disruption as Italians leave for their summer holidays.

Monday's strike was the second in less than two months, but the impact was more severe than the four-hour walkout on May 9.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2008

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