Tanker drivers plunge Portugal into fuel crisis
Fuel tanker drivers in Portugal began another open-ended strike on Monday after negotiations with the government for more pay and better working conditions collapsed. As a result many filling stations have run out of fuel and the government has imposed restrictions on sales. Portuguese media take the trade union representing the hazardous materials drivers to task.
Trade unions let conflict run out of control
The trade unions have done a poor job with this action, according to Jornal de Negócios:
“The trade union leaders fell victim to the expectations they raised together with their members - and this resulted in a loss of control. Encouraged by their power to paralyse the country, the trade unions promised the lorry drivers heaven on earth. But when they realised that they wouldn't be able to deliver the desired results or even pull off a successful strike, they grabbed the bull by the horns.”
Portugal's peaceful reputation at stake
This strike will leave deep scars, fears Jornal Económico:
“The controversy is big and is dividing the country, but the fact is that this lorry drivers' strike must reckon with less and less support. ... It remains to be seen whether consumers will be sympathetic when they don't receive ordered goods in time or when they can't find their usual products in stores, or worse still, when they can't get the medications they need. The scenarios that have been painted are not pretty and are making everyone nervous, particularly since Portugal has a reputation as a peaceful country and no one knows when and how this will end.”