Italian flight attendants go on strike

A union that represents flight attendants for Italian airline Alitalia said Monday it would go ahead with a strike planned for this week despite a government ban on the walkout.

The two-day strike is scheduled to begin 00:01 a.m. (2201GMT) Tuesday and end at 11:59 p.m. (2159GMT) Wednesday, the Sult union said.

On Friday the transport ministry ordered the strike be postponed, threatening sanctions against workers who take part in the protest.

Alitalia has not canceled any flights ahead of the walkout, but the protest is expected to cause severe disruption to air travel throughout the country.

In recent months the carrier has been forced to scrub dozens of flights due to a string of strikes by flight attendants over contract disputes.

The walkout by Sult was originally set for Aug. 30-31, but was put off by a week because Italian law prohibits transport strikes during the heavy travel weeks of August.

"We will not accept the ministry's order, as we had already accepted the invitation to delay the strike," said Sult official Andrea Cavola. "We take full responsibility for this action."

Alitalia has been dogged by labor disputes as it tries to restructure and turn its business fortunes around.

Italy's flagship airline has refused to recognize Sult as a party in negotiations, contending it has not adhered to agreements. The union denies the accusations.

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