Greece running out of fuel as customs officers extend strike

"Gas No-more", typical sign across greece's petrol stations

Serious fuel shortages are spreading across Greece as customs officers decide to extend their strike against austerity measures until Tuesday.

Long lines of cars are to be seen in petrol stations across greece as fuel is running out after an extension of customs officers industrial action against the neoliberal austerity measures imposed by the government on the pretext of the national credit crisis. Initially the strike which began last Tuesday 16 February was to end on Friday 19, but customs officers have announced its extension to Tuesday 23 causing panic to drivers and a headache to the government. According to the bourgeois media, half the stations in and around Athens have already run out of unleaded, with the depots of the rest expected to empty within the day. The only city that has evaded the problem due to extended deposits is Salonica. Mr Kiousis, the petrol station union president has claimed that already across the country 85% of petrol stations are completely dry.

The extension of the strike means that all imports and exports have come to a standstill and customs will again open on Thursday 25th, after the 24h general strike of the previous day. Meanwhile workers of the Ministry of Economics continue to strike, blocking the entrance to the Ministry even to the Minister himself who has to accommodate him self in the premises of other ministries in order to perform his publicly hated deals with the EU.

At the same time, the government's face is at a new all time low after the police shooting of a 25 year old plumber during a battle with alleged bank robbers in the eastern suburbs of Byronas. According to ballistics the unlucky worker was hit 9 times at the back and the head, all by police bullets, as he was trying to take refuge at an engine-shop. According to neighbours, while shooting the bystander, the cops yelled "I 'ate' the motherfucker". The brutal killing of the father of an 18 month old baby has fueled public dismay towards the police, now even more perceived as a gang of armed maniacs. The impression was worsened by the police chief of Athens claiming the operation was "successful" with the Minister of Public Order insisting that the only solution to such incidents is more and more armed police. The Byronas tragedy has come as a blow to the credibility of the greek government as a whole since it has recently gone public saying, as a response of financial and labour fears concerning the crisis, "If we cannot guarantee anything else, we can guarantee your security". The credibility of the police has been further eroded as a result of two bombs that have damaged the headquarters of JP Morgan in Athens and the political office of the Minister of Public Order in Peristeri. The former explosion occurred in Athens' most heavily guarded quarter, Kolonaki, while the latter occurred despite efforts of police to destroy the bomb by means of a controlled explosion.

On other news from the labour struggle front, workers mobilisation against the layoff of a worker at the prestigious arty publishing house Agra are continuing apparently causing panic to its bosses who like to portray themselves as progressives, to the extent that they have taken recourse to publishing letters of support to the lay-off (!) by a series of well-known artists and authors, the vanguard of the Spectacle of culture in greece. The union of workers of the book and printed material sector has gone on a 48h strike over the lay-off with persistent demos outside
Agra's offices and main bookstore in Exarcheia.

Finally, pharmacists have announced a 24h warning strike against the austerity measures for Monday 22 of February.

Posted By

Feb 19 2010 09:25


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Feb 19 2010 13:12

correction: "The brutal killing of the father of an 18 year old baby...."

year--> month

after you change it, you may delete my comment...

Feb 20 2010 11:51

Thanks from_gr for the correction!

Update: Despite phenomena of scabbing in Salonica and Crete the customs officers strike continues. The bourgeois media have unsuccessfully yet persistently tried to portray the disgusting scabbing exceptions as "a fracture" or "a break" in the strike, with the purpose of pressuring the strikers to abandon their struggle. In yet another method employed against the strike, the Ministry of Finance has taken to the courts asking for the strike to be rendered illegal. The confusion within government ranks concerning the proper treatment of the strike, which the government spokesman called "a universal right", has caused senior members of PASOK to describe the party as a "tower of Babel". Meanwhile, yesterday taxi drivers who went on a 24h strike marched with their vehicles to Syntagma square immobilising the centre of Athens.

Feb 20 2010 12:23

yes, thanks for the correction, I edited the article - in future if you spot typos like that you can make corrections by clicking "edit" above the article. Then this will be approved by a moderator.

Feb 20 2010 18:29

Update2: The court in Athens has ruled the customs officers strike illegal and has ruled that they are thus obliged to return to their posts tomorrow.

At the same time large protest marches organised by the left and by immigrant associations took to the streets of Athens and Salonica against racist attacks and demanding full legalisation of all immigrants.

Feb 22 2010 10:25

Upadate3: The court's decision has forced customs officers back to work and also means that a similar strike (for the same reasons) in the future is automatically deemed illegal. In practice, the forced suspension of the strike has reduced it by only two days, as the 24th of February is a general strike which included customs officers.