Sunday, October 3, 2010


Sciopero. It’s the most dreaded word to any traveler in Italy. If you hear or see the word sciopero (show-pair-oh), perk up your ears ‘cause there’s a labor strike a-coming, and it’ll probably affect your means of transportation.

Train workers, especially, tend to strike at the drop of a hat, although city transit systems are pretty prone to it as well.

The funny thing is, these aren’t unplanned affairs, and the strikes are announced days or even a month ahead of time. Strikes have a set hour at which they will begin, and a precise time when they’ll end.

This isn’t the American-style “walk out until management agrees with you” strike; in Italy they do it merely to make a point.

On occasion the sciopero is over contracts or work-related issues, but more often it’s used as a form of vague, general protest, and—although this isn’t journalistically verifiable—it’s hard not to suspect that sometimes, someone just want a day off.