6/14/08

Transport strike causes mayhem

A transport strike against petrol costs has caused chaos throughout Spain, blocking roads, leading to petrol shortages and provoking worries that shops will run out of major products if the strike lasts.

Picket lines blocked cars on main roads across the country, leading to tailbacks of up to 20kms and hundreds of angry drivers prevented from getting to their places of work. Many others, taking children to school, were also affected. Madrid, Barcelona and Valencia suffered worst, although Andalucia was also hit by the strikers, as 90 per cent of national transport workers supported the action.

Meanwhile, government representatives held talks with the organisation behind the strike, Fenadismer (National Federation of Transport Associations of Spain). The government maintained that bringing the price of petrol down is not possible, although President Zapatero said everything would be done to prevent them from rising further.

Transport workers are among the worst hit by rising crude oil prices and the knock-on effect on petrol prices. Lorry drivers say thousands of jobs are at risk and are demanding an obligatory minimum price.

Tailbacks and congested roads were not the only problem, as 40 per cent of petrol stations in Cataluña and 15 per cent in Madrid, as well as hundreds of others across Spain, ran out of petrol on the first day of the strike.

Shops and markets were also overflowing with shoppers, worried that provisions would run out.

(euroweeklynews.com)

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