Unions Shut Down Gas Stations Across Italy To Protest Prime Minister Meloni’s Reforms

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A nationwide gas station operator strike broke out in Italy Wednesday in response to Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni’s recent policy reforms to address rising fuel prices, according to Reuters.

Operator unions were protesting a new price display policy that would show national gas price averages in comparison to stations themselves, Reuters reported. However, distributors found the policy damaging to their sales because it made them appear solely responsible for the gas price increase.

The source of the issue is the current war in Ukraine and the undoing of Former Prime Minister Mario Draghi’s decision to help consumers by approving a temporary cut in fuel taxes, Reuters reported. Instead, Meloni opted not to extend the temporary aid because energy prices were lower than last year’s high prices, according to the Financial Times.

Meloni also refused to reinstate an earlier reduction for fuel duties, according to Reuters.

“We could not go back on a measure that is fair,” Meloni said, according to FT. “Publishing the average price is common sense.”

The gas station operators of the country, FAIB, FEGICA and FIGISC answered to the Italian right-wing government’s position with a staged walkout which lead Industry and Made in Italy Minister Adolfo Urso to hold another meeting hoping to end the strike, according to AA. After the meeting, FAIB praised Urso’s initiative and narrowed the strike down to 24 hours, while FEGICA and FIGISC kept the strike to the promised 48 hours.

The country is facing long lines at gas stations as many vehicle owners wanted to fill up their cars’ tanks before the beginning of the strike, AA reported. The average gas price reached $2.01 per liter earlier this week, an increase from 2022’s levels.

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