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Tunisia oil tanker drivers begin sudden strike

Drivers of oil tankers queue to get petrol at the French oil giant Total refinery, on February 22, 2010 in Donges, France [FRANK PERRY/AFP/Getty Images]
Drivers of oil tankers queue to get petrol at the French oil giant Total refinery, on February 22, 2010 in Donges, France [FRANK PERRY/AFP/Getty Images]

Drivers of oil tankers in Tunisia started a surprise two-day strike on Thursday, protesting against delays in plans to involve them in the oil workers’ syndicate.

Following the start of the strike, drivers rushed to the oil stations and “caused chaos,” with many stations across the country running out of oil and being forced to stop services, Al-Araby Al-Jadeed reported on Friday.

Private sector transportation was partially stopped, amid fears of causing economic damage to the still-developing country.

Head of the Chamber of Oil Stations, Mohammad Al-Bidiwe, said that “the surprising strike caused a state of chaos,” highlighting Tunisians’ fears that their work might face difficulties should the strike continue. Al-Bidiwe also described the strike as “illegal” and “dangerous” to the national economy.

The drivers of the oil tankers have been calling for the authorities to involve them in the syndicate of oil workers, instead of the syndicate of drivers to which they currently belong. “We have received several promises [to do so] since 2012, but nothing happened until today,” one of the drivers told Tunisian media, noting this is the reason for starting the strike.

Read: Tunisia struggles to cut govt deficit after tax proposals rejected

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