Unions move protest in reaction to order from “anti-strike” transport minister.

A planned 24-hour public transport strike in Italy on Monday 27 November has been postponed to Friday 15 December, trade unions announced on Saturday.

The move is a direct challenge to Italy’s transport minister Matteo Salvini who had issued an injunction to reduce Monday’s planned strike to four hours.

Salvini used the same mechanism last week to limit the effect of a general strike on the nation’s transport network, in a move that infuriated unions.

In a statement published on the transport ministry website on Friday, Salvini said the right to strike is “sacrosanct” but stressed his determination “to reduce the inconvenience for citizens as much as possible, also in light of strikes which have now become very frequent, and which affect the transport sector with particular insistence.”

“Too often strikes create complications right on the last day before the weekend or at the start of the working week”, Salvini concluded.

The unions hit back at the move, saying it was “anything but unexpected” but stressing that this “does not take away the seriousness of what was decided by Salvini.”

“We reject the illegitimate reduction and challenge the anti-strike minister on 15 December”, unions said in a joint statement on Saturday.

The newly rescheduled dispute, 10 days before Christmas, is set to affect bus, subway and tram services, with strike timetables varying in Rome, Milan and other cities across Italy.

The unions’ reasons for striking include demands for better pay, improved working conditions, increased safety in the workplace and the fight against privatisation.

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

Photo credit: Jose HERNANDEZ Camera 51 / Shutterstock.com.

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