General strike Friday will hit Milan

All public transport involved.

A general strike of all private and public sector workers, called by radical USB (Unione Sindacale di Base) labour unions for Friday 21 October, will be felt in Milan, particularly in the transport sector. The objective of the strike, say the organisers, is to “bring the country to a halt”.

Workers at all forms of public transport – trains, buses, metro, trams and airlines – have confirmed adhesion to the industrial action, with the only relief provided by the national law guaranteeing at least minimum service during the morning and afternoon commuter rush hours.

Airline passengers will be particularly vulnerable, since the air transport sector plans to down tools for 24 hours on Friday. Travellers are advised to contact their airline for the latest situation. Travel to Milan’s two airports for any flights still unaffected will in any case suffer delays and disruption. Trenord’s Malpensa Express, for example, will be substituted by a coach service; this not only takes longer than the rail connection, but also runs only to and from Milano Cadorna, without reaching Centrale station. In Rome, however, the Leonardo Express to Fiumicino airport has been guaranteed.

Milan’s ATM metro, tram and local bus network will run only from the start of the day’s service until 08.30 and from 15.00 to 18.00.

Rail services will be interrupted from 09.00 to 17.00, but Milan-based regional commuter network Trenord confirms trains starting before 09.00 and scheduled to arrive before 10.00 will run normally.

Trenitalia has guaranteed its long-distance “Frecce” services, but has published a list of other services which will be either cancelled or curtailed, warning that other routes may be affected during the day.

Italo has published a list of the only 20 trains it will guarantee across the country, including four outbound and five inbound to Milan.

Supporters in Milan for the Thursday evening UEFA match between Inter and Southampton, many of whom may not speak Italian or understand announcements, could find their return journey turning into an obstacle course. Britain’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office has issued a warning, which not all fans may have seen.

The strike is to protest the government’s economic policy and the referendum called for 4 December on constitutional reform. The USB unions do not adhere to the three main union federations CIGL, CISL and UIL, but still command a substantial membership and claim a high level of adhesion to calls for strike.