Trucking strike averted in Italy
Stars and Stripes June 27, 2007
NAPLES, Italy — Italian officials and trucking union leaders reached an agreement late Wednesday, averting a truck strike similar to the one that brought the nation to a grinding halt six months ago.
Trucking unions — protesting the high cost of fuel and fuel taxes — had called for a five-day strike to begin Monday.
The agreement halted a crisis that "could have paralyzed the country, negatively influenced the economy and the lives of the citizens," Minister of Infrastructure and Transportation Altero Matteoli said in a news release.
The agreement reduces highway tolls for truckers, reduces the fuel tax for diesel, and supplies government funding to haulers and trucking companies to make sure rigs comply with pre-set emission levels, according to the release.
Talk of a strike resurrected memories of the country meltdown in December, when Italian truckers parked their rigs to protest high fuel costs.
The four-day strike led to fuel stations running dry, grocery stores selling out of products, fresh produce rotting in warehouses, companies laying off workers and chaos in the streets.
In mid-June, a similar scenario played out in Spain, with striking Spanish truck drivers wreaking havoc — to include damaging two trucks carrying groceries bound for the commissary at Naval Station Rota — in protest of high fuel costs.