“Black Friday” expected for Milan travellers

National general strike to hit transport sector.

A national general strike in support of women’s rights and against gender discrimination on Friday 8 March – International Women’s Day – is threatening to bring Milan urban transport to a still-stand and affect travellers farther abroad.

On the day that women’s movements have announced a sit-in and protest march in Milan and other cities, workers in the transport sector have promised support with a 24-hour shutdown – apart from the legally exempted morning and evening “protected slots” for commuters.

The slots guaranteeing minimal service on the city network are from the start of service until 08.45 and from 15.00 until 18.00. Outside of these times, warns Milan urban transit authority ATM, both their office workers and their “travelling personnel” – bus, tram and metro drivers and controllers – are expected to down tools.

Milan-based regional network Trenord has announced that their staff will join the protest from midnight until 21.00, with a minimum service provided from 06.00 to 09.00 and from 18.00 to 21.00.  The Malpensa Express airport shuttle will be substituted by a bus service, which however will not reach Milano Centrale railway station but will stop at Cadorna.

National railway provider Trenitalia has provided a list of guaranteed connections, as has private provider Italo.  Apart from services on these lists, rail travel will be hit by the protest for 24 hours.

The Milan and district taxi-drivers’ associations, however, have announced they will continue working, “paying particular attention to the lady passengers who need to travel for work or pleasure.”

The specific demands raised by the unions include a stop to male violence against women, gender discrimination and precarious employment; privatisation in the welfare sector, the right to free and accessible public services, universal and unconditional earnings at home and at work, with equal pay, and a policy of shared support for maternity and paternity leave.