The Greek government on Thursday sharply criticized an ongoing strike by customs officials around the country and petitioned an Athens first instance court to declare the strike illegal and abusive of public interests as a fuel shortage worsened in the country.
Customs workers began a 48-hour strikes on Monday over the handling of bonus payments. Customs workers have been angered by government plans to abolish "special account" that handle certain payments to the employees. The government insists this will not lead to a reduction in income.
The strike led to a fuel shortage in major cities. In the greater Athens area, some 95 percent of gas stations had run out and shut down by Thursday afternoon, according to Federation of Greek Gas Station Operators.
Government spokesman Theodoros Roussopoulos stressed, among others, "that it is not possible for one group of well-paid public servants to attempt to hold Greek society and the economy hostage."
Roussopoulos said that the only reason for the current industrial action, responsible for a petrol shortage in much of the country, "is because they themselves (the customs officers) want to manage a special (revenue) account, at the same time when other such accounts are being abolished in other ministries."
The spokesman made the statement in response to a press question on whether the government is considering a mobilization order to break the strike. He added that the next move would be a court order declaring the strike illegal.