Govt slows diesel price increase in response to strike threats

The government has ordered a controversial 130 percent increase in the price of diesel fuel for industry put on hold until it can be implemented more gradually.

The decision comes in response to threats of by factory owners and trade unions to organize strikes if the increase is applied, Turkish news agency Anadolu reported.

Several factories had objected to the prime minister's decision earlier this month to increase diesel prices from LE1000 to LE2300 per ton as of 15 December as part of government efforts to reduce fuel subsidies. Measures to close the country's burgeoning budget gap are being met with resistance from a society heavily reliant on subsidized commodities.

“We are discussing a suitable formula with factory owners,” Petroleum Minister Osama Kamal said during a press conference Sunday for an unrelated protocol signing.

The minister denied reports that cement factories had threatened to raise prices by LE150 per ton in response.

Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm

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