NAPLES, Italy — Trade unions representing gas station owners and managers in Italy have called for a Friday-Sunday strike the first weekend of August – just as the peak holiday travel season for Italians begins.

The strike — slated to run from Aug. 3-5 — is to protest what the unions say is the Italian government’s failure to protect petroleum businesses from unemployment and high taxes, according to a news release posted on the industry’s website.

All gas stations in Italy, including self-service pumps, will be closed during the strike, according to Gestori Carburanti, an umbrella organization that represents the four labor unions calling for the strike.

In addition, the unions are urging gas station managers to accept only cash payment beginning July 30. The option to pay by credit and debit cards is expected to resume after the strike ends.

The suspension of credit and bank card payments should not affect the use of NATO gas coupons, said Bart Di Muccio, administrator of the tax-free program for the military in Italy.

But officials at Eni, the petroleum company that owns the Eni and Agip gas stations contracted with the U.S. government to redeem the coupons, could not rule out that some station managers might refuse to accept the coupons beginning July 30, Di Muccio said. He recommended that motorists fill up before then.

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