Travel Tips Italy – Navigating the difficulties of Strikes
Every year the fall brings contract negotiations and inevitably strikes. Some years the strikes have little meaning. Other years they can really be a nightmare. Italy’s government is now run by a Romano Prodi. Romano Prodi wants to be remembered as the Italian father of Reaganomics. His government has undertaken numerous initiates to break down the status quo and change the way Italians live and do business.
Without going into the politics of these initiatives, Italians are not Americans. When their government does something the citizens do not like the Italians will strike and hold very large demonstrations in the street. Eventually they will get a referendum going and block the government’s attempt to do whatever it is that the people do not like. Presently there are several hot topics. Alitalia is being sold and the unions do not like the conditions of the sale. This means that there can be, without any notice, a strike blocking the major airports in Milan and Rome.
To attenuate this risk I would think about using the train for internal transfers and use the airports of secondary cities like Torino for European flights. Intercontinental flights are not usually blocked by strikes.
One of Prodi’s initiatives is to eliminate the union of fuel distributors. It is thought that this union is responsible for limiting oil company’s capabilities to raise prices. In response to the government’s attempt to eliminate the union the fuel distributors announced that they will be executing 15 days of strikes. Over the years I have lived through several 1 or 2 day blockages. Thinking about how you travel, one can go on with normal life without any difficulties. I have only experienced one 15 day blockage, back in the late 80s. This was disastrous for those who had to drive.
If the fuel strike occurs, fill your car immediately. Eliminate any non essential driving. When you see a gas station open, fill up. When you are desperate, the union makes sure that a certain number of gas stations on the Autostrada are open. Check with your hotel about where to fill up. Whenever you exit the Autostrada network make sure you do so with a full tank of gas. Following these suggestions will limit the difficulties you may face should the strike occur.
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