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Last Updated: Friday, 30 November 2007, 17:12 GMT
Italy hit by transport shutdown
Taxi drivers on strike in Rome (29 November 2007)
The taxi drivers' action will compound transport chaos in Rome
Italian transport unions have held an eight-hour strike against government plans to cut transport spending.

Most train, air, sea ferry and bus services were hit by the strike and millions of Italians endured disruption to their commute or took the day off.

The transport closures were the most extensive seen in Italy in recent years, according to the BBC's Rome correspondent David Willey.

However, Rome's taxi drivers went back to work after a two-day strike.

The drivers had blocked streets in central Rome in protest at a decision by the city council to issue some 500 new taxi licences.

The authorities said the move would address growing demand for taxis but the drivers had argued it would threaten their livelihoods.

According to the AP news agency, the drivers' unions ended their strike late on Thursday after the city council said it would hold further talks with the unions on when and how the new licenses would be issued.

Talks failure

The broader transport strike was called in protest at the government's plans to cut funding for transport in the 2008 budget.

Unions were also protesting over plans to sell the loss-making state airline, Alitalia.

Flights in and out of Italy were disrupted during the day.

The strike was announced late on Wednesday after the collapse of talks with the government.

The negotiations "did not produce a solution to public transport problems", transport union chief Claudio Claudiani said, in a statement quoted by Reuters news agency.



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