Italy public transport workers strike over wage, job cuts

Italy public transport workers strike over wage, job cuts
Public transport workers have gone on strike across Italy to protest the government’s pay and job cuts, only days before the country’s parliamentary elections.

Tram, bus and metro workers walked out of their jobs on Tuesday to express their opposition to the government’s austerity measures.

The strike caused disruption in traffic and left thousands of passengers stranded in the capital, Rome.

“The strike will cause so many problems. To move and go to work will be difficult for many. Still, I think workers have the right to do it,” said Rome resident Eleanora Sellitto while waiting at a long queue for a bud.

Striking worker Damiano Aracino said strikes had to create disadvantages to the people, otherwise they would be fruitless.

“Strikes need to create problems, unfortunately. If they did not create disruption, they would be totally ineffective. I can feel more solidarity from people now. They understand us better,” Aracino said.

The strike came as people in Italy are scheduled to vote in parliamentary elections on February 24 to 25.

Tough austerity measures, spending cuts, and pension changes, introduced by Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti’s government, have stirred serious concerns for many people in the debt-ridden country.

Italians have been staging protests against government-imposed austerity packages.

The government says the reforms are needed to create jobs, increase competition, and cut costs in the third largest eurozone economy, which has been slow to grow over the past decade.

Italy started to experience recession after its economy contracted by 0.2 percent in the third quarter of 2011 and by 0.7 percent in the fourth quarter of 2011.

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