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Strikes, labor slowdowns add up to summer of woe in Italy

ROME (AP) — Italy’s summer of woe got worse Friday with one strike at Pompeii that left lines of tourists baking in the sun outside the World Heritage archaeological site and another at Alitalia that left passengers scrambling to rebook cancelled flights.

The slowdowns added to record-high temperatures and labor slowdowns that have made living in and visiting Italy particularly unpleasant this summer.

Rome’s transit problems got so bad that Mayor Ignazio Marino fired the leadership of the ATAC public transport company and issued a public apology for the “unacceptable problems” that have bedeviled the capital in recent weeks.

Those included transport employees showing up for work but barely doing their jobs — so-called “white strikes” that have enraged residents trying to get to and from work.

Separately, Alitalia cancelled 15 percent of its flights Friday because of a walkout by pilots and flight attendants.

Further south, hundreds of tourists lined up for hours in the sun Friday outside the gates of Pompeii, near Naples, after unions called a wildcat strike and kept the archaeological park closed for several hours.

Culture Minister Dario Franceschini said the Pompeii closure caused “incalculable damage” — both to Pompeii and to the image of the country.

Much of Italy has also been baking under a relentless heat wave for over two weeks, with average temperatures in Rome around 35 degrees Celsius (95 Fahrenheit).

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