Thursday, July 29, 2010


Here in the Peloponnese, until comparatively recently donkeys were the principal means of transport.  They are slow movers and their payload, although often unreasonably excessive for their size, is not great but they have great advantages over motor transport inasmuch as they need no road to travel along and they are powered by an infinite variety of tree and plant leaves that they browse as they work.  Owing to a strike by the nation's tanker drivers this week, the advantages of donkey transport over motor transport have become very apparent; air conditioned luxury cars and trucks that allow for one man to haul forty tons of freight infinite distances are wonderful but without fuel............!
Personally I am not too concerned that the fuel stations hereabouts have dried up.  In the short or even medium term it need not affect me.  I have a choice three sturdy pairs of boots and health and time enough to make the beautiful five hour round trip stroll to the nearest shop.  But I do have indirect concerns.  On Monday week my current visitors, my daughter and her family, will be leaving to return to the U.K.  They will need fuel enough to drive their hire car, presently a rather expensive garden ornament, back to Athens airport.  While I may have appropriate footwear and take much pleasure from strolling the tracks hereabouts they most certainly do not!  There could also be a direct problem for me if I arrive at the shop to find shelves bare for want of deliveries.
The tanker drivers have taken their action to try to make the government think again about introducing legislation to break the drivers union closed shop.  I can find no reason in the idea of a closed shop.  I believe that, in the labour market, competence should be the only criterion by which  we should be judged and our value to the concern with whom we are negotiating fixed accordingly.  However, I do understand that to suddenly and unilaterally impose changes on practices which have been extant for generations, a government must find either unprecedented powers of diplomacy or, God forbid for the consequences could be awful, authorise enforcement!