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Fuel strike hits Britain; passions cool in Spain

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Fuel strike hits Britain; passions cool in Spain

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British motorists’ pain at rising fuel prices is set to worsen, with petrol delivery drivers starting a four-day strike. Defying government appeals, 500 drivers delivering fuel for Shell walked out after pay talks broke down. Union leaders said settling their pay demand would cost less than the rise won by Shell’s chairman alone last year.

Shell has refused to get involved, saying the dispute is between the union and haulage contractors delivering its fuel. The action will affect about one in ten of Britain’s 9,500 petrol stations, and comes amid rising anger across Europe at the spiralling price of fuel.

Passions, however, have cooled in Spain, after a week of action by truckers. The Spanish government promised a no-tolerance policy against blockades and intimidation of working drivers, but offered help for truckers struggling with soaring costs. Spanish taxi drivers called off a planned strike for today, after winning similar government support.