Prime Minister António Costa has denied that the government is responsible for the ‘petrol panic’ that has erupted in Portugal, saying that the matter has to be resolved between SNMMP – the national syndicate of drivers of dangerous materials – and ANTRAM – the national merchandise transportation association.
“The government is not part of the negotiations like in other strikes,” he said.
“It is a strike of the private sector; the government doesn’t interfere directly. The government only intervenes to guarantee the right to strike and the fundamental conditions for the country to function,” the PM added.
SNMMP boss Pedro Henriques has also accused ANTRAM of stalling the negotiations and saying that it will refuse to negotiate so long as the strike continues.
“I know the government is pressuring ANTRAM to sit down and negotiate with us,” he said on Wednesday.
But as citizens try to get on with their daily lives, the number of fuel stations that are closing continues to increase.
Thus far, minimum services have only been assured in Lisbon and Porto, although the PM has said that the government is trying to extend this to the rest of the country. However, this does not mean that petrol stations will be refilled to their total capacity – “only around 40%”.