Finnish Truckers Plan Go-Slow Protest over High Fuel Costs

Protest was not centrally organized but spread through text messages

On the eve of a major holiday when heavy traffic is expected, Finnish truck drivers plan a go-slow protest in the Helsinki region on June 19 to protest against rising fuel costs, a transport association said. Information about the protest has spread in a text message from one driver to another and has not been centrally organized, the Finnish transport and logistics agency SKAL said June 17.

Police and transport associations have urged truckers to cancel their plans, citing image and safety reasons. "This is about the image of the transport industry in the eyes of the general public. The industry would not gain anything," SKAL managing director Iiro Lehtonen said. "On the other hand it is about safety. It could lead to dangerous overtaking," he added. Heavy traffic is expected at the time of the planned protest as many Finns will be travelling to the countryside to celebrate Friday's mid-summer holiday.

Many Finnish hauliers are annoyed with the lack of support from the government over soaring fuel prices that are putting a dent in their business. Finnish Finance Minister Jyrki Katainen said last week the government had not found a way to support the transport companies.

According to Statistics Finland, the cost of trucking increased by 14.3% in May from a year ago, primarily due to higher fuel expenses.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2008

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