Wildcat work stoppage at Turin's airport blocks flights

A wildcat work stoppage Monday evening by ground employees paralyzed Turin's airport and broke an &to=http://english.pravda.ru/society/2002/07/23/33043.html' target=_blank>Olympic games truce with local unions less than three weeks before the Winter Games in the northwestern Italian city.

The labor stoppage was forcing some flights to land at other Italian airports, and leaving travelers stranded after their flights did not depart.

An AP reporter at the airport said the few employees working told travelers that no more flights would leave for the rest of the day.

Turin airport spokesman Roberto Bergandi said workers were protesting plans to fire 11 ground workers.

A local truce covering the airport began some 10 days earlier, while a nationwide truce was slated to begin Jan. 31. The Olympics are scheduled for Feb. 10-26.

Meanwhile, an official from a union for workers involved in an unrelated labor dispute with Alitalia raised the possibility that if that airline's employees remain dissatisfied with efforts to resolve their complaints they could violate the nationwide Olympics truce with strikes.

Protests by Alitalia workers on Monday forced the airline to cancel at least 173 flights.