Fuel drought in the north

Thousands of northern Greeks have had their annual summer holiday disrupted by the decision of local fuel tanker owners to defy the rest of their colleagues around the country who have called off a strike. Gas stations in Thessaloniki and other northern cities and towns ran dry yesterday. In the rest of Greece, gas stations opened after agreement was reached between the government and the national federation of fuel tanker owners’ associations late on Wednesday. However, the president of the Northern Greek Fuel Tanker Owners’ Union, G. Yiavridis, told Skai radio that he did not recognize the federation and accused its representatives of reneging on the sector’s original demand to increase delivery fees on August 1 of this year. He also spoke of «personal interests and a secret deal.» The federation’s agreement with the government is for the increase to go into force on January 1, 2004. Macedonia-Thrace Minister Haris Kastanidis was trying to arrange a meeting yesterday between representatives of the union and ministry officials to resolve the issue.