>Truck drivers and railway workers strike in Greece

Posted on September 16, 2010



After the August thaw between the Greek government and the fuel carrying truck drivers, the latter are once again showing their teeth, while railway workers defy court ruling and strike.

The thaw between fuel carrying truck drivers and the Greek government lasted little more than a month, and that month being August, it has proved to be but a tactical move by the union which brought Greece to a standstill for a week last July and forced the government to employ civil conscription against strikers.
The new strike has led to new worries about the availability of fuel across the country, more so as it coincides with a strike by petrol station owners who protest against price controls imposed by the government. The truck driver’s strike began on Monday with hundreds of trucks blocking much of the national highway entrances to Athens on North and South. The so called ‘siege of Athens’ was not resolved as the government was hoping today as the union reps declared the bilateral talks “some more of the same old stuff”. The president of the union declared that the mobilisation will continue as drivers had no longer anything to lose. Although the drivers have declared they will provide fuel for hospitals, airplanes and boats, the Minister of Infrastructures Mr Reppas retorted today that “civil conscription does not involve only the means of transport but also the service itself”, indicating that the government will seek to persecute drivers who simply allow their vehicles to be used by the State but refuse to drive them themselves. Drivers responded to the Minister’s belligerent stance by occupying his political offices in Tripoli.
At the same time, despite a High Court decision that declared their labour action illegal, the Railway Union stopped all train transport on Tuesday while announced rolling stoppages for today, in response to plans of privatising OSE, the State rail monopoly as part of the austerity measures. During yesterday’s strike railway workers occupied the headquarters of OSE in Athens.

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