NAPLES, Italy — Italian employees who work on U.S. military bases throughout Italy have planned for three nationwide strikes in the coming weeks to protest the labor agreement being negotiated between U.S. and union officials.

Italian nationals who work at U.S. Army, Air Force and Navy bases throughout the Mediterranean peninsula have planned for strikes, from 8 a.m. until noon, on three Fridays: Jan. 21, Jan. 28, and Feb. 4, officials said.

As of Friday afternoon, base officials at Vicenza had received a notice that some Italian employees might observe a work stoppage on Jan. 21. The base had not received notice of action on any other dates.

Italian workers at Camp Darby were to meet later Friday and base officials there had heard no official word on any potential strike.

At issue are details of the renewal of the Condition of Employment, which governs all aspects of employment service of the roughly 4,400 local nationals on U.S. military facilities in Italy, said Al Spinelli, director of the Human Resources Office at Naval Support Activity, Naples, and Mario Piovesan, a spokesman for FISASCAT-CISL, one of the two Italian unions. UILTUCS-UIL is the other union. Nationwide, the two unions represent about 6 million Italian workers.

Disagreements between U.S. officials and representatives of the two labor unions, the sole two to represent Italians who work on U.S. bases, are numerous, and range from benefits and pension packages to working conditions in old buildings on some bases, Piovesan said.

However, at the forefront of the discord are what the unions say are substandard pension plans; rumors of layoffs of 122 employees who work at Navy bases in Sicily, Naples, and at La Maddalena; and employees who perform managerial jobs but are not recognized as managers and thus are not paid managerial salaries, Piovesan said.

Navy officials have been reviewing local national and federal civilian positions throughout Europe, and job cuts are expected at some point, though no time line has been set or specific jobs identified, Lt. Cmdr. Lisa Braun, spokeswoman for Navy Region Europe, said in December.

Officials will try to minimize the number of people laid off by cutting jobs held by workers finishing contracts or retiring, she had said.

Strikes are customary in Italian culture and happen quite frequently.

“We’re ready for the possibility that it could be widespread,” said Capt. Dave Frederick, commander of NSA Naples.

“Italians have the right to strike and we respect that right.”

All workers can strike, including employees in critical jobs such as firefighters, Frederick said. If need be, Frederick said, he can call in all active-duty firefighters to fill jobs of striking workers.

Other contingency plans are in place for the strike, such as rerouting traffic if strikers protest in front of base gates and shifting workloads, he said.

The upcoming strikes, however, are scheduled for the first four hours of the work day on the designated Fridays and Frederick said he doesn’t anticipate too much of a disruption.

U.S. and Italian officials are “nearing” an agreement on the Condition of Employment, which is a three-year contract, Spinelli said, but could provide no date. Officials are embroiled in “delicate” talks. This round of negotiations has lasted about 15 months, Spinelli said, far shorter than talks of the past. One time, it took three years to come to an agreement, and another took seven years, he said. However, all previous contracts contain a clause stating that Italian workers continue employment under the existing COE until a new one is signed, he said.

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