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Athens News Agency: News in English, 08-05-11

Athens News Agency: News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>

CONTENTS

  • [01] Fuel shortage looms due to strike

  • [01] Fuel shortage looms due to strike

    The prospect of widespread fuel shortages due to an ongoing strike by the owners of private fuel tanker trucks is looking increasingly likely, as petrol stations around the country began to "run dry" on Sunday. Shortages of unleaded petrol and diesel used in motor vehicles were particularly acute, and drivers both in Attica and elsewhere around Greece faced the prospect of ending up with empty fuel tanks.

    Tanker truck owners, along with owners of other heavy goods vehicles, have been on strike for a week now in order to demand rate increases of 13 percent in order to cover mounting costs that have soared as a result of rising oil prices. The government has offered 5 percent, by contrast.

    The head of the tanker truckers federation, however, has indicated that truckers are prepared to sit down to talks with the government to work out a compromise.

    On Friday evening, the striking truckers had a meeting with Transport and Communications Minister Kostis Hatzidakis, who made some concessions that were directly in the control of his own ministry, such as allowing specific categories of vehicle to use national highways at weekends. He also promised to intervene with Employment Minister Fani Palli-Petralia to solve problems concerning social insurance issues for the sector.

    He was, however, unable to satisfying their main demand - an increase in rates and fares - saying that this was the responsibility of the finance ministry.

    The tanker truckers' union federation is due to hold its general assembly on Monday to decide what to do next. If it chooses to extend the strike, then it is almost certain that there will be serious problems with fuel shortages though not necessarily limited to these.

    The truckers strike is also expected to affect the smooth operation of markets in general, with tonnes of goods struck at ports and customs posts, while several perishable goods may be completely ruined. Incidents occured at Iraklion port on Saturday, for example, when truckers attempted to prevent 20 lorries of produce from boarding a ferry bound for Piraeus.

    Also to join the strike to demand higher fare increases are taxi drivers, who have called a 24-hour strike beginning at 5:00 a.m. on Monday to seek a higher increase in fares then the 5 percent offered by the government, again citing higher costs due to rising oil prices.


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