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Italian train strike due on Oct 18- affecting travel/ what do I do?

Italian train strike due on Oct 18- affecting travel/ what do I do?

Oct 13th, 2000, 06:39 AM
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Italian train strike due on Oct 18- affecting travel/ what do I do?

I will be traveling through Italy for three weeks beginning next week. I just heard that there is a planned strike on Oct 18 for the rail travel. Since strikes are common in Italy( per this article I just read), what has been your experience in how long they last? I plan to be in Rome for about three days thren on to Assisi, Florence, Venice. Will appreciate your comments.
Oct 13th, 2000, 06:45 AM
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You could always reserve a rental car for pick up on the 18th, just in case.
Oct 13th, 2000, 06:49 AM
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When oil supplies appear to be threatened, buy oil stocks.

When train availability appears to be threatened, get your car rental reservation secured. Do it today.
Oct 13th, 2000, 07:02 AM
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Now would this effect trains coming in from France (Paris--->Florence direct)? Is it all personnel, or just people wokring driectly on the Italy trains and not in the stations? Thanks
Oct 13th, 2000, 07:37 AM
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We were traveling with our three kids in France and Italy two years ago when the Italian roads went on strike. More or less. We were in Nice, and were trying to get to Florence, then eventually Rome. We had to rent a car at the last minute at great expense, and our Europasses were virtually useless from that point on. Other than the expense, having a car was very much fun, at least outside of the big cities. In the big cities, it was pretty harrowing. Ironically, everytime we arrived at a new destination, we saw the Italian trains arriving. It started to be sort of a joke. Italian railroad strikes start and stop sporadically, and on any given day, some trains will run and some won't. My advice: if you have hotel reservations and are firm about getting to certain areas, rent a car in advance. If you are just sort of floating around Italy and can go with the moment, take your chances. (If you are traveling with kids, obviously, don't risk being stuck somewhere!)
Oct 13th, 2000, 10:29 AM
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Well, this is bad news, considering that we're arriving in Milan on the 18th and were planning on taking the train to Florence! I would really prefer not to drive, so if anyone has any suggestions regarding bus travel, I would be extremely grateful. Brenda - where did you hear about this strike? Is there a web site I can keep an eye on?
Oct 13th, 2000, 11:52 AM
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Ann- I saw a small article in the this morning's Boston Globe. I have been trying to track down additional information via web but to no avail. I did speak to the Italian Consulate office in Boston. The person who answered the phone was not aware of a strike this week but she did say that when they do occur, it does not necessarily affect all rail lines. In fact, she said that often it is for a few hours then they start up again. I plan to "roll the dice" and stay with my plan for using trains since I do not want to contend with a car rental...I find trains relaxing forcing me to slow down!
Oct 13th, 2000, 02:44 PM
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In Italy, walkouts are run-of-the-mill
By Ellen Knickmeyer, Associated Press, 10/13/2000
OME - Yesterday, it was bus, tram, and subway strikes that kept Tiziana Antonelli craning her neck at a sunny Rome bus stop in search of her hoped-for ride home.
Monday, it was a teachers' strike, keeping the 34-year-old Antonelli home all day with her 5- and 6-year-old children.
Wednesday, it was Italy's planes. Next Wednesday, it will be Italy's trains.
In a country where state monopolies still shelter public services from competition, strikes - an increasing anachronism in much of Europe - remain a part of Italy's calendar, and Italy's culture.
''I'm sure they have their reasons for striking, but it's a problem for the rest of us,'' Antonelli said, waiting - and waiting for her bus. ''I'm late for everything.''
According to Italy's national statistics institute, Italy lost 475,000 working days to labor protests from January to August - actually, a one-third drop from last year and thanks in part to a 2000 Holy Year strike-truce in deference to pilgrims.
Even so, that compares to 568,135 strike days for Italy's similarly strike-minded neighbor, France, in all of 1999.
In Italy, soccer teams strike, film dubbers strike, orchestras strike - once leaving conductor Ricardo Muti providing solo accompaniment himself on piano for an opera. In March, prison guards struck, triggering riots when guards locked inmates in their cells without food for a day and walked off the job.
Above all, transport workers strike.
With 16 trade unions representing Italy's 123,000 railway workers, train conductors don't have to look hard for reasons to slam on the brakes, tear off their caps, and go have an espresso.
Italians, inured since infancy to the inconvenience, endure.
''It's kind of like a tradition here,'' said archivist Viviana Rossi, waiting at that same sunny Rome bus stop yesterday morning.
''If it's not trains, it's planes. Or buses, or metros,'' Rossi said.
The public employees' strike that shut down Los Angeles county Wednesday largely was an anomaly for the United States. The days of Detroit lockouts appear history, like fins on Fords.
In Europe as well, globalization and privatization have forced a marked drop in labor protests over the last 10 years. Supervisors and workers come to terms, or go out of business, said Marino Regini, a labor specialist at the University of Milan.
Strikes in Italy's private sector and industry have fallen dramatically as well, to a level on par with the rest of Europe, Regini said.
Not so in the public sector.
In the area where they're guaranteed to cause the maximum of public inconvenience, strikes are strikingly in evidence.
''They're still a state monopoly, some of them at least, and so there's a relative lack of openness to international competition,'' Regini said.
That's so for state airline Alitalia, facing strikes Oct. 23, 24, 27, and 28.
Worker wrath hits Wednesday for Italy's state railway company, 95 percent government-owned.
This story ran on page A35 of the Boston Globe on 10/13/2000. Copyright 2000 Globe Newspaper Company.

Oct 13th, 2000, 02:46 PM
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I know how frustrating this can be; it happened to me during my travels last summer. There are often strikes that are scheduled for a short period of time in Italy by various agencies. The good news is that they are usually very brief, so the interference is not too great. Unfortunately, if the trains are scheduled to strike the day you are planning to travel from Florence to Rome, I don't think there are too many options; there are few (if any) long distance busses that I'm aware of. The best thing to do would be to reserve a car NOW for the day; while it may be more expensive than you'd like, you'd certainly get a better price here than if you had to rent it while you were there. Or you can simply rearrange your schedule and arrive a day later. Last summer, I found out about a planned strike and rented a car for the one day from Milan to Venice; it really wasn't that high ( @$100 ) and I would've been very unhappy if I lost that day in Venice.

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