martedì 11 dicembre 2007

Strike it (not so) lucky

For the past two days, Italy has been subject to a transport strike by Road Haulage firms, whose lorries have been blocking motorways and sliproads, and causing general havoc up and down the land. The latest news is that 60% of the country's petrol stations are without fuel (a grossly-exaggerated figure if you ask me, and asking for trouble, given the increasing queues to fill up) and supermarkets are running out of fresh produce. The thing is, here in the 'bel paese', you can't walk ten metres without running into a picket line of some sort. Most of the time, no one has a clue what it's all about, or takes any particular interest other than being mildly annoyed at the inconvenience, and nothing ever seems to change, as the same sectors continue to strike year after year. Over the past 12 months, the following industries have walked out on strike for one reason or another:

- Water distributors (great start!)
- Practically every railway company in the country (no surprise there...)
- Lawyers
- The Naples office of the Ministry for Justice (!!!)
- Water purifying companies ( I haven't quite understood this one - it's something to do with making land viable for crop growth)
- Italy's largest bank
- Pharmacies (very bad)
- Hospital staff (worse)
- Surgeons (excuse me??)
- Anaethetists (say what??)
- Italy's main electricity provider
- Helicopter pilots (errrr....)
- The Environmental Health Agency
- Security firms
- Metal Workers
- The Transport Ministry
- The Post Office (lots and lots of Post Offices actually!)
- Cleaning companies
- The local police of Busto Arsizio (HA!)
- Various local authorities / town, city, provincial & regional councils
- Private medical clinics
- Telecom (no comment)
- Airlines, pilots, cabin crew - various and often. Alitalia practically every week.
- Baggage handlers (grrrrr)
- Airline safety companies (not too keen on this one)
- The Port Authority
- Local transport providers - bus, metro, tram (once a month in Milan booooo)

In 2006 there was a Catwalk Models strike. I am not kidding.

Joking aside, apart from the general disruption caused to people who are prevented from going about their everyday business, these situations can have an even more sinister effect. Doctors and hospital staff go on strike and operations have to be cancelled or postponed, putting patients lives at risk. Transport strikes prevent vital deliveries of food, water and medicines - I was reading in the Corriere that ambulances and other emergency vehicles may be left without fuel as a result of it not being delivered to fuel stations. Also, they are predicting that tens of thousands of live animals being transported by the striking truckers are likely to die from starvation / dehydration from being left in the lorries, parked on the motorway. It makes me sick, to be perfectly honest. Sadly this is one of the harsh realities of life in the 'bel paese' and there's nothing 'bel' about it.

1 commento:

Pola ha detto...

Jeez! I never counted all these strikes. Probably I'm just so used at them and newspapers, too, that don't even mention them unless they are going to cause massive troubles, such as this one.

I decided to keep my dad's old car because I was just so tired of public transport strikes (trains, buses) and didn't want to have to deal with them on an exam day. Now I have to deal with benzinai's strike, truck drivers strike (then no fuel left). I guess if there is actually a way to live in Italy without getting bitter/stressed. I guess not.