New truckers' strike causes chaos on French roads

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New truckers' strike causes chaos on French roads

 New truckers' strike causes chaos on French roads
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Lorry drivers in France have been staging protests against the high cost of fuel, causing hundreds of kilometres of traffic jams.

It is the latest in a number of similar actions organised by trade unions in a bid to persuade the government to help road hauliers pay for petrol by cutting taxes.

So-called “snail operations” were staged nationwide, bringing traffic to a standstill outside France’s major cities.

In neighbouring Belgium, around 1,000 members of the Socialist union gathered at the headquarters of the Belgium Oil Federation to ask for a cut in VAT.

At 21 percent, Belgian VAT on energy is one of the highest in Europe, compared to five percent in countries like the UK or Portugal.

“I am afraid to go shopping, to fill up the tank, it is awful,” said one motorist.

“It is terrible. Every week, it costs me 63 euros to fill the tank and it disappears so quickly. I need a change from the car, I should get a bicycle,” said another.

Rising to nearly six percent in June, Belgium’s inflation rate is one of the highest in Europe.

Protesters are demanding tax cuts to help deal with the soaring cost of oil.

Further demonstrations were held outside the Brussels offices of French company Total which took over Belgium’s Petrofina nearly a decade ago.