Press TV, Rome
Taxi drivers have staged a nationwide strike against a government plan to deregulate their sector. The industrial action was called by a string of unions representing cab drivers in opposition to article 10 of a competition bill linked to the reforms the EU requires in exchange for the funding of Italy's post-COVID National Recovery and Resilience Fund.
Unionists say the deregulation will open cab drivers up to unfair competition from web-based ride-sharing services. On Monday, a protest called by unionists in Rome's central Piazza Venezia led to disruption to traffic and buses in the Italian capital.
The demonstration ended up in clashes with police. On Tuesday tens of cab drivers gathered at Rome's municipality asking local authorities to take their side. Protests were also held in Milan and other Italian cities.
Like taxi drivers across the European Union, Italy’s licensed cabbies have been protesting ever since private-hired services such as Uber arrived on the scene in 2014. An endless series of strikes and protests against the liberalization of the sector have been staged over the years.
Tension within the broad coalition supporting Prime Minister Mario Draghi's government was high over the competition bill until not 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, seems to have calmed down the churning waters of Italian politics.