Greek drivers ordered to end strike

Emergency order issued as fuel shortages hit debt-ridden country.

    The strike has led to fuel shortages and has hit the tourism industry in Greece [Reuters]

    Fuel shortages

    Thousands of striking truck drivers have been lining the highways since Monday to protest against plans to open the sector to competition, a key reform in a multi-billion dollar EU/IMF package aimed at pulling Greece out of a debt crisis.

    Fuel has run out in all but a few of the capital's petrol stations and shortages are already reported in many major cities.

    The truckers say that opening the freight sector by reducing new licence charges is unfair to existing operators who have already paid high start-up fees running up to $390,000.

    "The state sold us these licences, so the state should compensate us," George Tsamos, the head of the truckers' union, told Flash Radio.

    Barnaby Phillips, Al Jazeera's correspondent in Athens, said: "[The] truck drivers are furious about government attempts to liberalise their profession.

    "They say that in some case they paid tens of thousands of euros for their licences and if their profession is opened up to anyone, their livelihoods will be destroyed.

    "They've been on strike for three days now and [the] strike has had a big impact on Greece ... here in Athens for example, 80 per cent of petrol stations have now run out of fuel.

    "For its part, the government is showing a much firmer hand than it has in the past ... it has declared the strike illegal.

    "It's ordering the people to go back to work, it says the liberalisation of the economy is essential if there is to be economic progress in Greece."

    The drivers say they will not directly defy the emergency order, but will continue their protest with various forms of disobedience.

    SOURCE: Agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    Why some African Americans are moving to Africa

    Escaping systemic racism: Why I quit New York for Accra

    African-Americans are returning to the lands of their ancestors as life becomes precarious and dangerous in the USA.

    Why Jerusalem is not the capital of Israel

    Why Jerusalem is not the capital of Israel

    No country in the world recognises Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

    North Korea's nuclear weapons: Here is what we know

    North Korea's nuclear weapons