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Greek government orders drivers to return to work

07-29-2010 08:32 BJT

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The Greek government have used a rare emergency order to force striking fuel-tanker drivers back to work. The crippling protest, which started five days ago, is threatening tourism and causing food shortages.

The truck drivers have 24 hours to return to work, or face arrest, prosecution, and the risk of losing their license.

Hours after negotiations collapsed, the government issued a mobilization order under national emergency provisions. The extreme measures are usually reserved for wartime and natural disasters.

Union members, who oppose an overhaul of licensing rules said they would ignore the order. The changes are part of austerity measures that Greece must undertake to satisfy conditions of a rescue loan by the EU and the International Monetary Fund.

In Athens, about 70 percent of gas stations have run out of fuel. Fresh-food shortages and temporary factory closures have also been reported in various parts of Greece.

Bus Driver, said, "Up to now, we have not been affected by the fuel shortage because we have our own reserves. We're still ok. But if this continues for much longer, we may have a problem."

The strike has sparked a mid-summer crisis for the government which is facing fierce union opposition as it pushes through unpopular cost-cutting reforms.

Due to the recent demonstrations and strikes, the country saw a 5.3 percent drop in tourism arrivals in the first quarter of this year.

Business associations have also been hard hit by industrial unrest, reporting a 50 percent drop in turnover for small businesses in Athens, over the first six months of the year, compared with the same period last year.

 

Editor:Zhang Pengfei |Source: CNTV.CN

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