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  • Writer's pictureEryn Gordon

How to Plan Around Italy's 2024 Strike Schedule

Updated: 6 days ago

High speed trains awaiting departure in Milano Centrale Stazione, the central station in Milan

The initial inspiration for this blog sprouted in Milan's Centrale station. After my train, and all subsequent trains for the following three hours, were canceled, I was left stranded at the station.

Here's your word of the day: sciopero. It's the Italian word for strike, and you might be familiar with it if you have had the misfortune of traveling during a strike in Italy.

This blog covers the strike schedule in Italy, and what to do if one of your travel days lands on a strike day.

Why Are There So Many Strikes in Europe?

After hearing that infamous word - sciopero - over the Milan station intercom, followed by a chorus of groans from the commuters standing around me, I had a mix of emotions. Anxiety. Anger. Frustration. Fear.

Getting stranded in a foreign city where you aren't able to speak the language is scary. In 2023, Unions across Italy called for 1,419 strikes, and while it's always a nuisance to have travel plans changed because of a strike, remember that it's a constitutional right that protects the dignity of workers.

After I got over my initial panic, I reminded myself of these things. Most workers in Italy hold strikes in an attempt to preserve essential rights, like fair wages, and safe work environments.

I began to see the positive in my situation: at least I had only a light backpack and a phone charger, and not a huge suitcase full of stuff.

Strikes are a part of normal life, not just in Italy, but all of Europe. They don't usually occur out of the blue, and there are some things you can do to prepare ahead of time.

What Are The Scheduled Strikes in Italy for 2024?

There are only two reported strike days in Italy so far in 2024.

January 23

  • A 24-hour taxi strike in Rome.

January 24

  • A 24-hour nationwide transportation strike. Buses, subways, and trams will be affected.

  • 1pm - 5pm strike among air traffic controllers at nationwide airports.

How to Travel During an Italian Strike

While your travel plans in Italy may change because of a strike, it's unlikely that you will get completely stranded for days at a time.

Regulations require unions to inform the public of planned strikes weeks and sometimes months in advance. Transportation is also required to operate at a minimum level.

Take it from someone who began blogging about Italian strikes during a three-hour delay because of a sciopero. These are my tips:

Get Informed About Upcoming Strikes in Italy

Before any trips to Italy or Europe, make sure to check EU websites for upcoming strikes.

Depending on how soon your trip is, you might be in the clear if you don't see your dates listed. If your trip is a few months out, it's a good idea to continue checking in case the strike dates haven't yet been released.

A passenger train at an Italian train station.

If You're Traveling During a Strike, Don't Lose Your Cool

Millions of Europeans are affected year-round by strikes. Don't be that guy who flips out on a customer service representative because of it. Even if you're the sweetest person in the train station, they likely can't help you.

Because most transportation lines require minimum services, another train or metro will likely be on the way soon. You may have to sit tight and approach the situation with the same amount of patience as a Buddhist monk. My suggestion is to bring your vice of choice: a book, music, or TV show on your phone.

What About Air Travel During a Strike?

Most of the airports will still be operating even if there is a sector of professionals on strike. For example, baggage handlers may be on strike, but that doesn't mean all flights will be grounded. Just be sure to pack a carry-on, and you likely won't feel too much of the effects.

What if it's a more significant strike? On January 24, air traffic control will strike all across the country, amounting to significant delays and cancellations. You can potentially avoid challenges with baggage handler strikes, but air traffic control is a bit more problematic.

According to The Times, "Air traffic control strikes and those by airport staff not directly employed by an airline are considered 'extraordinary circumstances', which means you won’t be due any compensation from the airline."

It's always best to check directly with the specific airline you're flying with and keep in mind that airlines do have obligations to you as a customer if you're traveling. If you experience a flight cancellation, you may be entitled to a refund or voucher for another flight.

Try to avoid the headache and change your flight date ahead of time.

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