A little anecdote: one time, I was trying to leave Florence, Italy to get to Athens, Greece. In an ideal world, this would be a quick flight. On December 18, 2014, it became a 24-hour ordeal. My error, you see, is that I planned my travel on the day of an Italian transit worker strike. So, trying to take a train to Rome to catch my flight became a very difficult and costly process. And then I still missed my flight. One day, one layover in Istanbul, and $500 later, I finally walked into the doors of my $11-a-night hostel. I don’t begrudge the Italian workers. I’m a Workers of the World Unite kind of girly.
But if I could advise 2014 me of one thing I’d tell her this: Don’t try to do anything ambitious on strike days. Right now, the big strikes in Europe aren’t happening in Italy. The biggest strikes are currently happening in France and the United Kingdom. Many of these strikes are planned by transit and aviation workers and will happen on specific days, according to USA Today.
In Paris, many of the demonstrations relate to the French government’s announcement and eventual vote to raise the retirement age from 62 to 64. In the United Kingdom, there are planned strikes for nearly every day in March from junior doctors, nurses, rail, civil servants, driving test examiners, teachers, university staff, and ambulance staff. You can find a schedule of the strikes planned in the United Kingdom via Sky News.
“Travelers who are planning to enter the UK on Wednesday 15 March 2023 may face longer wait times at border control,” the UK government released in a statement. “Check the latest travel advice with operators before you travel.”
Additional strikes could affect travel in Spain and Germany.
The US State Department advises that you can stay up to date on the status of strikes and other potential travel issues during your travels by enrolling in the Smart Traveller Enrollment Program. If your flight is canceled due to a strike, you should be eligible for reimbursement. However there are a few instances when the airline could classify the cancellation as “extraordinary circumstances.”
In addition to enrolling in STEP, you can also check local English language news outlets of the destination you are traveling to, for the most up-to-date news about strikes that could impact your trip.
Hopefully, all these workers will be able to secure safe, stable, fairly compensated working conditions. That way, travelers can enjoy their vacations, and workers can enjoy an equitable work environment.
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