ROME, March 21 (UPI).— Today, seven million farm and industrial workers stepped out in a strike that the man on the street barely noticed. But motorists are more concerned by strikes at refineries and gas stations that could trigger Easter gas shortages.
Two of the poorest and most unemployed groups in Italy, farmers and construction workers, led the strikes today.
About 1.7 million farmers staged their fifth 24-hour strike in four months to push for new contracts. Their requirements include a minimum daily wage requirement of $4.72. Farm workers in 30 of Italy’s 94 provinces now earn less than that.
Other requirements include a 40-hour workweek instead of the current 42-hour week, and a guarantee of no layoffs. The farm is currently rented for a two-month term with no guarantee of extension.
Unions have called on 5.5 million construction and industrial workers to agree with the farmers.
Construction workers, who complained about pay, work accidents and unemployment, went on strike for 24 hours. Newspaper printers and chemical, textile, metal and food canning workers participated for a period of two to four hours.
Most Italians were unaffected by the strikes, with the exception of traffic jams caused by strikers’ marches in Rome, Milan, Naples and dozens of other cities.
However, strikes by two smaller groups – refinery and filling station workers – cause greater concern.
About 20,000 workers from private oil and gas companies turned out for the second day of a 72-hour strike, the latest in a series of incidents that have slashed gasoline stocks at many refineries. down to the minimum.
Gas station workers, demanding more money and shorter time, called for a new three-day strike starting at 9pm today. Although one in three distributor’s labor unions refused to join the strike, labor experts said it appeared to be more effective than previous strikes, leaving a number of filling stations open. decline.
The refinery strike also threatens to affect the cement industry, 85% of which is powered by fuel oil. Some cement factories said that their fuel reserves are about to run out.
– The International Herald Tribune, March 22, 1972