Italy's biggest transport strike in 25 years forced the cancellation of hundreds of flights, idled trains, anchored ships, and stalled buses across the country on Friday.
Aero-news.net reported that Italian carrier Alitalia canceled 217 domestic and international flights before a four-hour walkout by pilots, flight crew and ground staff beginning at 11 am. Air One, Italy's number two carrier, only guaranteed nine flights there.
Workers are upset and protesting cuts in the transportation sector over funding shortfalls in the country's new 2008 budget, and declining revenues of businesses operating in the sector.
The number one loser is Alitalia, which the Italian government is struggling to unload.
Railway company Trenitalia also canceled hundreds of trains and warned travelers of further delays as rail workers walked off their jobs at 9 a.m. for an eight-hour protest.
Ships were delayed 24-hours, while commuters slugged through traffic trying to get to their jobs in private vehicles.
At midday, nearly 80 percent of employees had participated in the strike, according to union estimates. The country’s funeral and emergency services workers were among those taking part.
Local transportation was idled for eight hours starting at different times in cities across Italy.
The city of Rome avoided further walk-out disruption by making a late-night deal Thursday with taxi drivers.
Taxi drivers had staged wildcat strikes and traffic blockages for two days to persuade the city not to grant 500 new cab licenses.
The city did not go back on its plans but agreed to discuss with unions when and where the new licenses will be available.