Berlusconi's Italy--If you watch tv for your news, you would never know this. Just one more reason that the internet is a better source of news and information, even with all the noise, mis-and-disinformation, and outright lies.
Internet searches only bring a few American notices, none of them any of the major wire services, excepting UPI, though they narrow it to being just a "transport strike." As far as mainstream American media is concerned, it never happened. Neither did the renewal of the Italian Communist Party as a force in national politics out of the strike, or the 300,000 protesters in Rome's Piazza San Giovanni.
What's it over? So-called "reforms" by the Berlusconi government in public jobs and education. The President wishes to cut pensions, have fewer teachers in classrooms, and wants to institute an authoritarian structure in Italian education. Few support these moves in Italy.
If you do a search on the subject on most any major search engine, you're not going to find much on this. The General Strike began on October 17th by educational, public transport, healthcare services, and by members of various other public occupations. Only lasting a few days, it's been a resounding success with the participation of students. Understand now why you aren't supposed to know this? Maybe there are other wire stories on this, but they aren't coming-up in any deep searches.
The great thing about the Italians is that they don't take things lying-down like Americans. Capital still has its battles with ordinary people there, often losing to worker demands. For all intents, the strike has ended with a defeat for the rightist Berlusconi, who like Canada's Stephen Harper can expect to be politically isolated in the event of a Democratic landslide on November 4th.
Note: The ANSA article has served as the general template for what few American news-outlets covering the story at all. That means that virtually no American journalist has reported on this story from Italy. Were they told to "stand down"?
"Strike brings Italy to a halt, "ANSA, 10.17.2008: http://www.ansa.it/site/notizie/awnplus/english/news/2008-10-17_117266546.html