Nov. 11 gas station strike

Gas stations around the country will remain closed on November 11 in protest against the government’s decision not to force oil companies and suppliers to seal their fuel tanks, the Federation of Greek Petrol Stations (OBE) announced yesterday. OBE said members had accepted the new government ruling requiring gas stations to issue receipts for sales of diesel and heating oil effective next year on condition that the State compel oil companies to seal their tanks. The federation said this was necessary as it would facilitate checks «not just on the quantity but the quality of the fuel.» Oil companies are currently required to seal tankers conveying fuel to gas stations. The government has said the use of cash registers by gas stations next year for the sale of diesel and heating oil would provide a better picture of the inflow and outflow of the fuel and also help to stamp out tax evasion and illegal trade in the sector. The receipt ruling does not apply to sales of gasoline. Meeting with petrol station owners last week, Deputy Finance Minister Apostolos Fotiadis said the issue of sealed tanks rests with gas stations and oil companies. OBE said the State should show its commitment to stamping out illegal trade rather than burdening gas stations with destructive tax measures by adopting its proposal. It said the planned strike could turn into an indefinite protest in the event the government proves to be inflexible on the issue. There are some 7,300 gas stations nationwide. Street market vendors staged a weeklong strike at the beginning of the month in protest against a ruling that manufactured goods traders issue receipts next year. The State said the move would stop illegal trade and tax evasion.