Greek truckers vote to return to the wheel

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The Independent Online

Greek truckers ended a six-day strike yesterday, handing a victory to the socialist government in its efforts to liberalise the recession-hit economy.

Truckers had walked off the job last Monday to protest against plans to open up their sector, a reform required by a multi-billion euro European Union/International Monetary Fund bailout plan. Their strike disrupted fuel supply all over the country, with queues forming at petrol stations. "The general assembly of truck federations decided, with a marginal majority, to end the strike," union head George Tzortzatos said yesterday.

"This must be followed with a simultaneous removal of the (government's) return-to-work order."

Taking a tough stance, the government had ordered the strikers on Wednesday to get back behind the wheel, threatening to strip them of their licences and prosecute them if they did not do so within 24 hours.

Some truckers had started to comply with the order. Officials said disruption had eased significantly.

The 33,000-strong truckers' union has been fighting the government's move to open up their profession and cut the price of licences to own and operate lorries.