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Italian Airline Worker Protest Causes Havoc


Workers from Italy's state airline are in the fifth day of a protest that is causing travel chaos and hundreds of cancellations of national and international flights.

More than 180 Alitalia flights were canceled in Rome, with the work stoppage expected to continue until at least Wednesday, when union representatives are to meet with the government.

There is chaos at the Fiumicino airport as many other flights suffered delays and passengers were forced to go home or find alternative means of transport.

Passengers flying with Alitalia have been advised to contact the airline before heading to airports to ensure their flight is leaving and at what time. For many, traveling with Italy's state airline has become so inconvenient they choose another airline if possible.

This passenger says he was to have left from Paris late Sunday, but his flight was canceled. He finally managed to leave early Monday.

Cancellations were mainly caused by picket lines blocking access to the hangars where maintenance and security inspections are carried out. More than 120 flights were also canceled Sunday.

Alitalia workers have been protesting the loss-making company's restructuring plan and the management's failure to maintain commitments in exchange for labor cuts.

This worker says it is a story, which started two years ago, when unions signed an agreement with the government and airline management. But he says the company is not keeping to certain parts of the accord, which are fundamental for the survival of the airline.

Unions have threatened not to respect a strike truce' agreed to for the Winter Olympic Games next month in Turin.

Interior minister Roberto Maroni has already said the continuing protests risk the airline's bankruptcy. He said the European Union would not allow the government to bail out the airline, as it has done in the past.

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