Crippling Greek trucking strike ends

It took less than a week for truckers to cripple Greece by striking. Drivers today agreed to return to work

August 2, 2010

It took less than a week for Greece’s trucking industry to bring the country to a standstill by striking, but drivers have today chosen to return to work.

The week-long strike that led to fuel and food shortages across Greece was so severe the government called in the military to deliver much-needed supplies to hospitals and petrol stations.

As the Financial Times reports, the drivers were protesting the government’s decision to liberalise the heavily regulated trucking sector by granting more licences.

The business publication reports that more than 30,000 drivers walked off the job, causing four in five petrol stations to shut down within days due to a lack of supply. The government last week issued an emergency mobilisation order days after the strike began to try and get the truckers to begin delivering goods again. Most ignored it.

Truck Owners Confederation President George Tzortzatos is quoted as saying drivers will return to work tomorrow.

"We have made our decision with a sense of responsibility and taking into account the problems the strike action has caused," a statement released by Tzortzatos says.

As the Sydney Morning Herald reports, travellers had their trips derailed or were left stranded due to dwindling supplies.

Despite the strike, the Wall Street Journal reports that the Greece government plans to reform the road freight sector.

However, Tzortzatos wants the government to negotiate with the trucking industry on the proposed reforms, the Guardian reports.

Greece is required to liberalise its economy as part of conditions imposed on it for receiving a financial bailout from the European Union earlier this year.

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