Employees of Hellenic Petroleum (ELPA) on Sunday launched a 10-day strike that could potentially disrupt the smooth supply of the market with fuel in the coming days.

The employees at ELPE, which controls three of the four oil refineries in Greece, are striking in demand of "the safe staffing of the new units that are commencing operation at the (ELPE) industrial installations in Thessaloniki and Elefsina".

Market sources told ANA-MPA that the problems are not expected to arise immediately, given that there are ample reserves in fuel stations and at the installations of the fuel

marketing companies, while supply will be normal from the fourth refinery, that of Motor Oil.

Given, however, that ELPE controls three of the country's four refineries -- in Aspropyrgos, Elefsina and Thessaloniki -- and more than 60 percent of the market, the strike could cause fuel shortages, especially if there is a flurry of drivers rushing to fill their tanks, in which case the reserves will dry up earlier, the sources said.

The ELPE management has filed a petition in court asking that the strike be declared illegal.

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