Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Greek Truckers Strike Turns Ugly Awaiting Vote

Today Parliament Decides Fate of the Haulage Industry
Shipping News Feature

GREECE – The situation in Athens appears to be worsening as thousands of freight truck drivers enter the eleventh consecutive day of strike action. Drivers littered the steps of Government buildings last night and trucks still block vital arteries into the capital. Police used tear gas to disperse the truckers as tension escalates.

Today (Wednesday) the Greek parliament votes on the fate of the haulage industry as Greek premier George Papandreou knows he must force through reforms which he feels will decrease haulage costs across the country. Yesterday the Transport Minister accused the drivers of operating a closed shop and said freedom of choice and competition in all industries was necessary and that Greece must fall into line with every other European country in this respect.

Mr Papandreou has to conform to demands from his European backers as we have outlined previously but the hauliers insist if this is the case that he refunds all the money the government collected from them for the exclusive licences to operate freely. Many drivers have remortgaged their houses to fund this investment and they are in a militant mood, 2,000 of them demonstrated all night and more are expected to join in today.