Fuel rations in Portugal as fuel drivers go on strike

The Portuguese government imposed on Monday fuel rationing at petrol stations as fuel-tanker drivers started a strike, news wires reported. The government promised to prevent the labour action from paralysing the country at the height of the tourist season and ahead of the strike last Friday declared an energy crisis.

The fuel rationing for the public restricts drivers to a maximum of 15 litres of petrol or diesel per filling at specially designated stations covered by the government-decreed minimum services scheme, and 25 litres at all other stations. Some stations were out of fuel on Monday morning, but there were few lines so far.

A strike in April was Portugals worst outbreak of industrial unrest in years. Tanker drivers decided to stop work for the second time this year after talks with their employers over better pay and workers’ rights failed.'The National Hazardous Materials Drivers’ Union (SNMMP), which called the strike, said they would comply with the minimum services, but there are concerns they may fail.

“It’s absolutely essential that everyone does their part, that those on strike exercise their right and that the minimum services enacted are respected,” PM Antonio Costa said on Sunday. “Common sense must prevail.” The government stands ready to launch special measures to ensure steady supplies, he added.

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