Portugal petrol strike lifted

Fuel haulers in Portugal lifted on Thursday a strike that caused long lines at petrol stations days before a long holiday weekend following mediation by the government.

"After three difficult days of uncertainty and even insecurity the situation should progressively return to normal," said Infrastructure Minister Pedro Nuno Santos after announcing that negotiations would be held later this month.

The strike launched at the beginning of the week quickly led to shortages, with Portugese media reporting on Wednesday that some 3 000 petrol stations had run dry.

The government had ordered a certain number of drivers back to work in order to ensure a minimum service to airports, ports, emergency services, public transport and 40% of filling stations in the Lisbon and Porto regions as the country begins marking a three-day holiday weekend for Easter on Friday.

The government also worked to bring the unions and employers back to the table.

The SNMMP union had been seeking a wage hike and special protections for haulers of dangerous materials.

"It's a historic day," said SNMMP spokesman Pedro Henriques. "The country has finally understood our difficulties and we will quickly launch negotiations on April 29."

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