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Italian taxi drivers stage wildcat strikes over deregulation plans

15/01/2012

By BNO News

ROME (BNO NEWS) — Italian taxi drivers who are protesting against government plans to liberalize the sector launched a wildcat strike on Friday, causing major disruption in the capital of Rome, local media reported.

Few to no taxis have been running in the capital since the strike started on late Thursday evening to protest a package of liberalization that the government has said will hit ‘all sectors.’ Taxi drivers gathered in protest in the area of the office of Prime Minister Mario Monti, who wants to make it easier to obtain taxi licenses, the ANSA news agency reported.

A taxi driver who broke the strike had his vehicle kicked and was verbally abused, reports said. Similar strikes have been happening in other cities over the last week and drivers have been staging a sit-in with their cabs in Napoli’s historic Piazza del Plebiscito square for two days.

Unions have said they also plan to hold a nationwide strike on January 23 to protest the government’s plans.

The Italian government is planning to open up the sector to boost the sluggish economy. The measures will seek to reduce privileges for dominant companies and certain groups of professionals, who have been accused of limiting competition in their sectors.

According to reports, the package will also include measures to increase the number of pharmacies and notary offices and open up petrol distribution to greater competition. The reform comes after the government approved a 30-billion-euro ($38 billion) austerity package of tax hikes, spending cuts and pension reforms to put Italy’s public finances in order.

(Copyright 2012 by BNO News B.V. All rights reserved. Info: sales@bnonews.com.)

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