Taxi drivers

Italian taxi drivers stage second day of nationwide strike

Max Civil

TV Press, Rome

Taxi drivers staged a national strike against a government plan to deregulate their sector. The industrial action has been sparked by a series of unions representing taxi drivers in opposition to Article 10 of a competition bill linked to reforms the EU is demanding in return for funding from the Italian National Fund for post-COVID recovery and resilience.
Unionists say deregulation will expose taxi drivers to unfair competition from online ride-sharing services. On Monday, a demonstration organized by trade unionists in Piazza Venezia in central Rome disrupted traffic and buses in the Italian capital.
The demonstration ended in clashes with the police. On Tuesday, dozens of taxi drivers gathered in the municipality of Rome to ask local authorities to take their side. Demonstrations also took place in Milan and other Italian cities.
Like taxi drivers across the European Union, Italian licensed taxi drivers have been protesting since the arrival of private services such as Uber in 2014. A never-ending series of strikes and protests against the liberalization of the sector have been staged in over the years.
Tension within the broad coalition supporting Prime Minister Mario Draghi’s government was high over the competition bill until not too long ago. However, a split in the once anti-establishment Five Star Movement, with Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio embracing Draghi’s more pro-market views, appears to have calmed the choppy waters of Italian politics.