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Italian taxi drivers to strike


Italian taxi drivers to strike

Italian taxi strike
Photo: Ansa/AP

Taxi drivers will go on strike in Italy today, culminating in a march on Rome.

The drivers are striking to protest a new law approved by the Council of Ministers earlier this month which is meant to deregulate the transportation industry, increase antitrust enforcement, and remove some barriers to entry. The hope behind the law, which was proposed in accordance with EU liberalization plans, is to encourage greater competition in the transport market and thereby improve quality and costs for the consumer.

The taxi drivers’ unions have significant influence in Italy and have fought off several past attempts to liberalize their industry. However, their fortunes have waned in recent years as the taxi industry has been increasingly outcompeted by the comparatively unregulated ride-sharing industry. A liberalization—particularly one which removes some of the exclusive barriers to entry protecting what remains of their monopoly—would compound these problems.

While the taxi unions have seen mixed results pushing for new regulations on ride-shares in the past, they may be able to delay the law’s passage by Italy’s Parliament. However, it is unlikely that they will be able to prevent it; the bill’s connection to EU NextGen funding makes it likely to pass.

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