Strike by HELPE workers sparks fuel concerns

Strike by HELPE workers sparks fuel concerns

A 16-day strike announced by the PSEEP union, which represents workers at Hellenic Petroleum (ELPE), is expected to make it difficult for fuel to reach Greece’s islands and other parts of the country.

The actions consists of several one- or two-day strikes as well as two five-day walkouts that will start on August 22 and 27. PSEEP said it is protesting because the regulation setting out the specifications for tugboats that can be used at the harbors next to ELPE’s refineries is being suspended for a year. The union argues the suspension puts workers at risk.

The company said the move was agreed with the Shipping Ministry. If the specifications are applied, 42 of the 50 tugboats that currently help tankers reach the harbors would be put out of commission.

ELPE’s management has appealed to the courts to have the strike deemed illegal and has given assurances that there is enough fuel for deliveries to made as usual this weekend.

The company’s appeal is due to be examined on Friday. ELPE says it could suffer 70 million euros in losses and that there could be problems getting fuel to various parts of the country.

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