Most gas stations in Italy closed by strike until late Thursday
Stars and Stripes June 6, 2007
NAPLES, Italy — Gas station managers started a two-day strike throughout Italy late Tuesday, part of an ongoing protest against governmental efforts to boost business competition.
Self-service pumps will reopen for business at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, after the pumps were shut down in protest Tuesday at 7:30 p.m., according to several Italian news media reports.
Full-service stations, where attendants pump fuel, will reopen at 7 a.m. Friday. Stations along the country’s major highways, often open 24 hours, were to be closed from 10 p.m. Tuesday until 10 p.m. Thursday.
The strike is part of a series of protests launched in February when fuel station operators and their labor representatives announced a string of springtime strikes. Those have bled into the summer — and the popular travel months.
Managers are trying to overturn the government’s Jan. 25 passage of a “liberalization packet,” a plan to lift restrictions limiting where, and how many, fuel stations can be built. The package affects other businesses, too, such as pharmacies, hair salons, cinemas and tobacco shops.
The packet also would allow companies to build discount fuel stations at supermarkets and shopping malls.
There are no fuel stations available on military bases for U.S. and NATO military personnel, civilians and families serving in Italy. Instead, members fuel up on the economy at Agip or Esso stations, using prepaid fuel coupons bought from military exchanges. U.S. and NATO drivers pay less for fuel than the economy pump price, which currently averages 1.367 euros a liter, or about $5.17 a gallon.
The June cost for a 100-liter coupon book for unleaded gasoline is $82, a price that translates to $3.10 a gallon.