Bloomberg News

Greek Petroleum Workers Strike Against Government Measures

October 11, 2011

(Updates with austerity vote in third paragraph, Hellenic Petrol production in sixth.)

Oct. 11 (Bloomberg) -- Greek petroleum refinery workers called an indefinite strike beginning today to oppose government plans to cut wages and change work rules.

“This will be a struggle for as long as is necessary,” the Athens-based Panhellenic Federation of Employees in Petroleum Products and Refineries said in a statement on its website. “The government wants to dissolve unions.”

Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos said today that a law on lower wages and pensions for state workers will be pushed through Parliament next week. International creditors are pressing for permanent spending cuts to allow the release of an 8 billion-euro ($10.8 billion) loan under a May 2010 bailout.

A European Union, International Monetary Fund and European Central Bank mission, the so-called troika, said today Greece has made “important progress.” The country may need additional measures in 2013 and 2014 to meet budget targets, according to an e-mailed statement from the European Commission.

Approval of the mission’s findings by Euro area finance ministers and the IMF board will allow the loan to be released, according to the statement.

Hellenic Petroleum SA, Greece’s biggest refiner, processes 312,000 barrels of oil a day at its three refineries, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Motor Oil Hellas SA is the second-biggest refiner in the country.

Blocking Access

Union opposition to the government’s budget measures is mounting. The country’s two biggest worker groups plan a two-day strike from Oct. 18, NET Radio reported yesterday, without saying where it got the information.

Today, state workers blocked access to the Interior Ministry, General Accounting Office and state-run Agricultural Bank of Greece SA in Athens, according to state-run Athens News Agency. Strike action by municipal workers over the past two weeks has left piles of garbage on Athenian streets. Culture Ministry employees will strike for 48 hours as of tomorrow, shutting down museums and archaeological sites.

--Editors: Maria Petrakis, Zimri Smith

To contact the reporter on this story: Natalie Weeks in Athens at nweeks2@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Angela Cullen at acullen8@bloomberg.net


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