Greek gov't lifts civil mobilization order after six-day truckers strike

Greek gov't lifts civil mobilization order after six-day truckers strike

The Greek government announced on Sunday the lifting of a civil mobilization order which was issued on Wednesday to tackle a fuel crisis caused by local truckers' strike, Xinhua reported.

Earlier on Sunday afternoon striking truckers voted with a marginal majority to end a six-day strike that paralyzed Greece. Their mobilization caused shortages of fuel and other products nationwide and dealt a severe blow to tourist enterprises hoping to make up revenue losses at the peak of the summer tourism season.

Strikers promised to go back to work transporting goods starting from Monday, calling on the government to lift a civil mobilization order.

"Civil mobilization order is pointless, if truckers will get back to work. The freight track market will open up, because this reform is necessary for Greek society and national economy. It is self-evident that the government takes every initiative to secure the normal operation of the market," said a statement released by the government spokesman George Petalotis.

During a marathon debate held in Athens on Sunday, representatives of the 30,000 state-licensed trucks and fuel tankers from all over Greece who protested the planned liberalization of the freight truck market, decided to put an end to the crisis for the time being.

"Taking into account the problems caused, we assume our responsibilities towards society," said a notice released after the general assembly of their labor union.

Unionists warned though that they might resume mobilizations in the near future if the government will not meet pledges to look into the severe problems they will face due to the forthcoming reform.

As military tankers continued to transport non stop fuel to hospitals, ports and other critical sectors since Friday, Transport, Infrastructure and Networks Minister Dimitris Reppas repeated that despite strong reactions the plan to open up the currently "closed" freight market in Greece will be implemented.

What the government is willing to discuss with truckers until the draft bill regarding the reform will be voted by the parliament in September, are measures to balance their losses due to the change. Truckers could get tax and pension system advantages.

The government is determined to proceed to the reform in the framework of a package of reforms promoted this year, so that Greece can overcome an acute economic crisis that broke out in late 2009.

Since 1971 the freight market in Greece is "closed", which means that only the 30,000 truckers who were granted licenses by the state are allowed to transport goods.

But with the liberalization of the market, these licenses which were bought for hundreds of thousands of euros will lose the one third of their current value.

The six-day strike dried petrol stations nationwide, created shortages of fresh products in the market, led to closures of factories, left thousands of tourists stranded in Greek islands and caused cancellations of hundreds of thousands of bookings in tourism destinations across Greece.

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