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Europe

Truckers put an end to six-day strike

Video by Nicholas RUSHWORTH

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2010-08-01

Greek truckers ended a six-day strike on Sunday, ending a national fuel crisis which threatened tourism at the peak of the season and handing the government a victory as it strives to shore up its debt-hit economy with tough austerity measures.

REUTERS - Greek truckers ended a six-day strike on Sunday, handing a victory to the socialist government in its efforts to liberalise the recession-hit economy.

Truckers had walked off the job on Monday to protest against plans to open up their sector, a reform required by a multi-billion euro EU/IMF bailout plan.
 
Their strike disrupted fuel supply all over the country, with queues forming at petrol stations.
 
"The general assembly of truck federations decided, with a marginal majority, to end the strike," union head George Tzortzatos told reporters on Sunday. "This must be followed with a simultaneous removal of the (government's) return-to-work order."
 
Back to work: Greek truckers end six day strike
Taking a tough stance, the government had ordered the strikers on Wednesday to get back behind the wheel, threatening to strip them of their licences and prosecute them if they did not do so within 24 hours.
 
Some truckers had started to comply with the return-to-work order on Saturday, helping to relieve fuel-starved petrol stations. Officials said the disruption had eased significantly.
 
The 33,000-strong truckers union has been fighting the government's move to open up their profession and cut the price of licences to own and operate lorries, part of structural reforms to make the debt-laden economy more competitive.
 
Truckers had lined the side of roads since Monday, disrupting fuel supplies during the busy summer tourism season in defiance of the government.
 
Transport ministry officials said the navy was helping to transport supplies to the islands. Army trucks were also providing fuel supplies to strategic sectors including airports and power plants.
 
Road freight is one of the most closed professions in Greece with no new licences issued for nearly 40 years. Those in circulation are sold from person to person for hundreds of thousands of euros. The government plans to cut their price.

 

Date created : 2010-08-01

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