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Greek hauliers call end to crippling week-long strike
Published in Saudi Press Agency on 01 - 08 - 2010


Greek hauliers announced Sunday they were ending
their week-long strike, which has crippled the country and led to
fuel and food shortages, according to dpa.
"We have decided to end our strike and to return to work," said
Truck Drivers Association President Giorgos Tzortzatos following the
four-hour meeting.
Greece's armed forces and fuel companies worked around the clock
on Sunday to restock and resupply fuel-starved petrol stations,
airports and hospitals across the country.
Tourists as well as ordinary Greeks had been stranded when petrol
supplies started to run out, amidst panic buying.
Meanwhile fuel companies dispatched their own trucks on Sunday in
an effort to replenish petrol stations left dry.
Officials said the situation should return to normal by Monday.
More than 35,000 truck drivers have been on strike since the start
of the week after disobeying a government emergency order to return
to work.
Lorry drivers were protesting against plans to cut licence charges
- part of major reforms required of Greece to boost competition and
one of the conditions of a 110 billion euro bailout package by the
European Union and International Monetary Fund (IMF).
Road freight remains one of Greece's most closed professions with
no new licenses issued for nearly 40 years.
The reforms will mean drivers will no longer be able to sell their
business licences privately - sometimes for as much as 300,000 euros
- greatly devaluing the initial investment they made.
The government called an emergency mobilization order on Wednesday
and threatened the drivers with arrest and prosecution unless they
returned to work.
The hauliers' decision to go on strike came as a team of EU, IMF
and European Central Bank officials visited Athens to monitor
progress and decide whether to release the second installment of the
emergency package in September, totalling 9 billion euros.
Hundreds of rented cars were left abandoned on the side of the
road on many Greek islands after they had run out of petrol.
Meanwhile, thousands of tourists, mainly from Serbia and Bulgaria,
who drove to Greece for their holidays had been stranded as petrol
stations dried up.


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