Wednesday, September 15, 2010

[olympiaworkers] Truck drivers and railway workers strike in Greece Sep 14 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

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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