The Greek government’s efforts to break the lorry drivers’ strike have been beginning to make a difference. The military has been called in to restore essential fuel supplies; private tankers have been delivering petrol to service stations.
Tens of thousands of tourists have been affected.
“We haven’t been able to fill the petrol tank for three days,” said a German woman on holiday on the island of Crete. “We drove until it was empty and since then we’ve been stuck in the hotel.”
“If you have a rental car you want to use it to visit places which weren’t proposed by the tour operators,” said a male tourist. “Our movements are very limited and this is very annoying.”
Truckers have extended a five-day strike, defying a government order to return to work. They have refused to accept plans to open up their profession to more competition – one of the conditions of an international bailout for the country. Road freight has been described as one of the most closed professions in Greece.
“I’ve never had the misfortune to run out of petrol,” said one local man. “Maybe central Athens has been having problems but here things are good. Apart from that, I don’t believe the strikers will win what they set out for.”
The armed forces have been mobilised to restore fuel supplies to what are described as “critical sectors”: airports, electricity plants and hospitals. But truckers’ union leaders say they’re determined to maintain their action.