Authorities take the fuel strike day by day

in News · 16-08-2019 01:00:00 · 0 Comments
Authorities take the fuel strike day by day

Petrol rationing continues across Portugal as the dangerous goods drivers strike continues indefinitely.

At the time of going to press (14 August) there was still no end in sight to the truck drivers strike and military and police forces were being used to guarantee minimum services of fuel.


Reports across the country found that the Algarve was the region where fuel shortages were being felt the hardest, mainly due to the influx of tourists in the region at this time of the year creating a rise in population and demand.


President of the Algarve Intermunicipal Community (AMAL), Jorge Botelho, said today that supplies to the region during the driver strike have been “minimally guaranteed” but warned that there will be a constant monitoring of the situation.


Botelho told Lusa: “So far, services have been provided. Now, let’s follow up to see how it will be over the coming hours and days”.


AMAL held a meeting on Tuesday to assess the situation in the region and to analyse the supply of fuel to petrol stations.


Jorge Botelho stated that the strike has been “worrying from day one” and considered it to be “detrimental to the country and particularly to the Algarve”, which is in the peak of the tourism season and has a much larger population than usual.


“When the strike was announced it was worrying and since the strike began it continues to be worrying.” he added.


Maintaining fuel levels for emergency services, hospitals and airports continues to be a priority and in the Algarve the fuel supply to Faro airport has been secured by GNR personnel following drivers not reporting to work on Tuesday.


It wasn’t until 12.30pm that five of the six trucks that usually make the journey between Loulé railway station and Faro Airport for refuelling the aircraft left the railway station, all driven by GNR military personnel.


The drivers, who guarantee this transportation daily, did not report for duty and prevented the daily transportation of the tankers, which are moved by rail from the Sines refinery to the Loulé logistics base, which should have started early in the morning.


While minimum services are supposed to be guaranteed by the truckers the situation continues to change daily and on Wednesday the spokesman for Portugal’s dangerous goods drivers said that workers will not comply with minimum services or civil requisition, in solidarity with colleagues who were notified for not working on Tuesday.


“In solidarity with their colleagues [who were notified], nobody will leave here today,” said Pedro Pardal Henriques in Aveiras de Cima, Lisbon’s main fuel depot.


“Nobody will comply with the minimum services or civil requisition, they will do absolutely nothing”, the National Union of Drivers of Dangerous Materials (SNMMP) lawyer said.


The minister of the environment and energy transition, João Pedro Matos Fernandes, said on Tuesday that 14 workers did not comply with the civil requisition decreed by the Government in the drivers’ strike.


The minister also said that 11 of these workers “have been duly notified,” adding that first there is “notification of non-compliance and then there is a notification that they are committing a crime of disobedience.


As for the remaining three workers, they are still “to be found and notified,” João Pedro Matos Fernandes added.


“The people here were extremely upset by the Minister’s announcement,” Pardal Henriques said, adding that the drivers “are not criminals”.


“What they [drivers] said today is that if one driver goes to jail, then the minister will have to bring large buses to take the country’s 800 drivers,” he said.


Since the beginning of the drivers strike the government has brought in rationing for those looking to buy petrol or diesel. Refuelling for light vehicles will be rationed to a maximum of 25 litres and heavy vehicles 100 litres, available only at filling stations that do not belong to the Strategic Network of Filling Stations (SNFS).


In a press conference, the minister of environment and energy transition, João Pedro Matos Fernandes, explained that SNFS has two types of stations: one for priorities, such as the armed forces, medical emergency, transport of agricultural products and the other for the general public.


The strike was called by the National Hazardous Material Drivers Union (SNMMP) and the Independent Freight Drivers Union (SIMM) and the Northern Road and Urban Transport Workers Union (STRUN) was also associated with the strike.


The government has enacted minimum services of between 50 percent and 100 percent and has declared an energy crisis, which implies “exceptional measures” to minimise the effects of downtime and to ensure the provision of essential services such as security forces and medical emergencies.


A map of all the petrol stations in Portugal showing the levels of fuel in each, can be found by visiting www.janaodaparaabastecer.vost.pt
For daily updates regarding the current fuel strike in Portugal, please visit www.theportugalnews.com



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