Italy Proposes Bill to Block Museum Strikes

The Italian culture ministry is facing intensifying union protests that have shut down museums and heritage sites, as cultural workers cite “delayed payment of overtime,” according to Hannah McGivern and Tina Lepri in the Art Newspaper. In response, Italy’s Chamber of Deputies has proposed a new law reclassifying museums as “essential public services,” requiring striking unions in the cultural sectors to give ten days’ advance written warning. The measure will need to be approved by the Senate before November 20.

The bill was formulated after union strikes shut down the Colosseum in September, alongside the archaeological locations of Rome’s historic area: the Imperial Fora, the Palatine Hill, and the Baths of Diocletian and Caracalla.

“It is a question of whether the strike call responds to the need to protect workers, or if it is nothing but the continuation of an arm wrestle between the unions and the government over culture, to the detriment of consumers,” said Roberto Alesse, president of the Commissione di Garanzia per gli Scioperi, which arbitrates between unions and governmental bodies.