Talks break down again between Polish customs men and government
( dpa ) - Thousands of truckers faced further long queues and misery on the Polish borders with Ukraine and Belarus Wednesday as talks broke down again between Polish customs men and the government.
Union spokeswoman for the customs men, Ivona Folta, said the government side had entered the latest talks "unprepared". The workers are demanding a monthly pay rise of 1,500 zloty (600 dollars) as well as earlier retirement and better protection from attacks.
The industrial action, which has left huge tailbacks of trucks and other traffic at border crossings, came in response to a refusal by the Warsaw government to improve working conditions for customs workers after Poland became a member of the Schengen Treaty.
That move, at the beginning of the year, obliged Poland to enforce more complicated and stringent border rules.
The industrial action has targeted trucks and trains, producing jams of up to 60 kilometres and waits of up to three days for hapless lorry drivers.
Belarus' and Ukraine's governments, fearing ecological damage from the idling lorries and a public health threat from thousands of lorry drivers stuck on rural highways, have been providing food and shelter to motorists at public expense, in some cases since Saturday.
Ukraine's government estimated state income lost due to reduced customs proceeds, and costs connected with supporting the stranded drivers, at more than 8 million dollars a day.
Belarus' government intended to sue Poland and if necessary the European Union for damages suffered, according to a Belarus Ministry of Justice statement cited by the Belapan news agency.