Fuel stations in Italy have been closed in protest against the government’s overcompensating oil companies and under-compensating distributors, which has caused traffic problems. The 60-hour strike began on Tuesday after failed negotiations with the government, and it will end on Friday with only the required minimum number of stations opened during the period. “It is incredible, with all that petrol costs us nowadays, that they can even think of going on strike,” said a Rome resident. The strike has also caused disturbances and chaos as many Italians are out holiday shopping. The strike organizers said the reason behind the move is to fight a “true aggression against the roughly 24,000 small businesses and 120,000 workers in the sector.” Other actions are also planned for the rest of the month with fuel stations refusing to reimburse oil companies for refills between December 17 and 22.
Italy was hit by a political crisis on December 8 when ex-Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi’s party withdrew its support for Prime Minister Mario Monti causing him to announce his resignation once the 2013 budget is approved.Italy started to experience recession after its economy contracted by 0.2 percent in the third quarter of 2011 and by 0.7 percent in the fourth quarter of 2011. CAH/HSN