Another strike hits the rails, this time in Italy
Five unions have announced a warning strike at the Italian rail freight carrier Mercitalia. The strike will be held on Friday, 31 January in the Tuscany region. Freight trains of the operator will cease all movement that day between between nine in the morning and five in the afternoon.
The unions are protesting against a continuing staff reduction at Mercitalia, the freight company of the Italian state railways FS. Since 2012, the number of permanent employees in Tuscany has been reduced from 660 to 160 today. `This is a job cut of 76 per cent in just seven years”, says Stefano Boni, general secretary of Fit-Cisl Toscana, one of the unions. The unions have warned not to shy away from much more radical steps to oppose the staff cut.
Rail freight Tuscany
According to the unions the massive deployment clashes with the financial commitment of the Tuscany Region to the FS Group, as the region has made huge investments in railway connections and routes dedicated to the transport of goods by rail in recent years.
The unions have demanded a clarification of the intentions of Mercitalia Rail, in addition to the hiring of more train drivers and multifunctional technicians, at least 50. This should help to relaunch and consolidate transport and development in the Tuscany region, as well as ensure the future of current employees.
Mercitalia gained international attention with its high-speed freight service Mercitalia Fast, which it launched in November 2018. It was the world’s first high-speed freight train. Currently, this train runs from Monday to Friday, from Bari to Bologna. This frequency is likely to be increased to two daily services in the near future, to cities such as Turin, Novara, Milan, Brescia, Verona, Padua, Rome and Bari.