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|January 24th, 2006, 02:26 AM||#1|
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Turin Airport - Wildcat Strike Breaks Olympic Truce
Wildcat work stoppage at Turin's airport blocks flights, breaks Olympics truce
By ARIEL DAVID
23 January 2006
TURIN, Italy (AP) - A wildcat work stoppage Monday evening by ground employees paralyzed Turin's airport and broke an Olympic games truce with local unions less than three weeks before the Winter Games in the northwestern Italian city.
The labor stoppage, which began about 4:30 p.m. (1530GMT), forced some flights to land at other Italian airports and left travelers stranded in Turin when their flights were canceled.
An AP reporter at the airport said the few employees working told travelers that no more flights would leave for the rest of the day.
Turin airport spokesman Roberto Bergandi said workers were protesting plans to fire 11 ground workers.
Turin's prefect, who is the Italian government's top security official for the city, was leading negotiations Monday night between the company planning the layoffs and representatives for the workers, Bergandi said.
A local truce covering the airport began some 10 days earlier, while a nationwide truce was slated to begin Jan. 31. The Olympics are scheduled for Feb. 10-26.
Meanwhile, an official from a union for workers involved in an unrelated labor dispute with Alitalia raised the possibility that if that airline's employees remain dissatisfied with efforts to resolve their complaints they could violate the nationwide Olympics truce with strikes.
Protests by Alitalia workers on Monday forced the airline to cancel at least 225 flights and to warn travelers that as many as 250 flights could be scrapped on Tuesday.
At Turin's airport, some passengers who were supposed to fly from Turin to London were transferred by bus to Milan's Malpensa airport.
"Some airlines changed their flights to other airports. Others kept delaying and delaying the flights until they were finally canceled" as the protest dragged on, Bergandi said, adding he did not have an exact number of canceled flights.
Some passengers whose flights landed at Turin's airport shortly before the wildcat strike began had to wait on board until police arrived to escort them off the planes and across the tarmac.