Portuguese Truckers Plan New Strike, Risking Gas Supplies

LISBON, Portugal (AP) -
portugal strike
Tanker truck drivers on strike watch a fellow driver leaving a fuel depot in Aveiras, outside Lisbon., last week. (AP Photo/Armando Franca)

Portuguese tanker truck drivers have announced a new walkout, just days after returning to work and resuming talks with employers in a pay dispute.

The Hazardous Materials Drivers Union said Wednesday that about 750 members — from a total of some 900 in Portugal — will refuse to work overtime or on weekends and public holidays from Sept. 7-22.

The union says truckers work many hours of overtime to keep the country’s 3,000 gas stations stocked.

Truckers ended a seven-day walkout on Sunday, after the Portuguese government instituted emergency measures to keep gas pumps from running dry. Talks with employers broke down late Tuesday.

A spate of strikes has tested the country’s Socialist government, traditionally sympathetic to trade unions. But with a general election less than two months away, the center-left government is wary of taking sides.