Strikes Could Be Problem for Olympics

Union leaders said they would urge their members to temporarily end wildcat strikes against Alitalia, which is concerned strikers will disrupt travel to the Winter Olympics in Torino during Feb. 10–26. The union pledge came after a meeting in Rome between government ministers and the unions, whose members are upset over plans by Alitalia to split off maintenance and airport services into a new company. But talks are still under way between unions and the airline, and there is no guarantee things will settle down prior to opening of the games, Feb. 10–26. Although a labor truce is in place during the Olympics, the wildcat strikes have called that into question. Alitalia said it remains very concerned about travel to and during the Olympics, and that the situation is out of its hands. The labor actions have forced Alitalia to cancel hundreds of flights over the past week. Between 180 and 250 flights a day have been canceled since Jan. 19. By day's end Wednesday, 175 flights were cancelled and pickets blocked flight crews and other workers from getting to their jobs at several airports. Alitalia hoped for no more than 170 cancellations on Thursday. The airline typically averages between 760 to 800 flights daily, with about 250 of them inside Italy.

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