Italy’s biggest transport strike in a quarter of a century has caused travel chaos across the country. The eight-hour walkout hit every conceivable sector – from trains and planes to buses and the underground, and even breakdown vehicles and hearses. Major cities such as Rome and Milan were particularly badly hit.

One bus driver in the capital summed up the strike as being over a “budget without finances”, and said he thought the public supported the action. But that has not been the case unanimously, with some complaining over the strikers changing the timetable of the walkout.

At one bus stop, two women interviewed said the walkout started earlier than had been announced, so although they changed their plans accordingly, they were still left without transport.

Transport unions said the government’s 2008 budget does not include enough financial support for their sector. A total walkout was reported in some areas. The unions also oppose government plans to sell its stake in the loss-making national carrier. Air traffic was badly affected, with Alitalia cancelling 350 flights.