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Genoa wildcat transit strike continues for third day

Unions claim widespread solidarity for cause

21 November, 15:16
Genoa wildcat transit strike continues for third day (ANSA) - Genoa, November 21 - Genoa on Thursday suffered the third day of a wildcat public transport strike that halted buses and paralyzed traffic over new austerity measures and plans to privatise a city-owned partial stake in AMT, Genoa's financially struggling public transportation company. Union leader Andrea Gatto of Faisa-Cisal threatened the strike would go on until Genoa's mayor and the regional governor agreed to talks with the unions ''with concrete proposals''.

Mayor Marco Doria responded to the strike saying, ''Cost-containment measures for AMT that protect jobs are necessary in a moment like this''. ''Not a single AMT job is under discussion,'' Doria added, speaking to local television Primocanale.

''In 2013, workers' sacrifices allowed the company to survive. In 2014 we must find a balance in company accounts,'' Doria continued. ''My commitment as a stakeholder in AMT is that the company not go bankrupt,'' Doria explained. Despite snarling traffic jams and other inconveniences, unions report widespread support among Genoan residents and other city workers.

A Facebook page dedicated to their cause received 3,000 ''likes'' 14 hours from being posted. Workers from garbage and maintenance companies, Aster and Amiu respectively, have joined the striking bus drivers in solidarity.

Genoa's city council is meeting on Thursday to discuss companies in which the city is a stakeholder.

The meeting comes after a two-day suspension of city-council activity due to the transit strike. Demonstrators are expected to pack the 80-seat audience area to overflowing.

Meanwhile, Genoa Prefect Giovanni Balsamo said strikers will be punished.

''Today we sent the first notices to workers. We will apply all the sanctions provided for the interruption of public services,'' said Balsamo.

''One must be aware that this behaviour has consequences. The fines range from 500 to 1,000 euros,'' Balsamo added.

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