20071212 italy gas trucker strike 78383055 18
Italian drivers line up for gas at a petrol station in Naples. Striking truckers in Italy have blocked off major highways, leaving gas in short supply. - 


Doug Krizner: To Italy, where truck drivers have been on a nationwide strike since Monday. Low pay, high taxes, those are the issues. The shutdown is costing the food industry alone more than $300 million a day. As Megan Williams reports from Rome, its also beginning to bring Italy to a grinding halt.

Megan Williams: Shoppers this morning in Rome are frustrated.

[Italian man complaining about shopping]

"Scaffale vuoti." Empty shelves. That's what this shopper found in the produce section of his downtown supermarket.

Outside, the streets are also a little empty -- of cars. With truckers blocking major highways, gas is now in short supply. Hand-written signs saying "finita" -- finished -- cover most pumps. Police are now patrolling stations that still have gas left to help keep order in the long line-ups.

Most strikers are from small operations, and are protesting what they call excessive tariffs and taxes, low pay and lack of government support, especially compared to the highly subsidized rail system. As the strike rolls into its third day, Italians and its leaders are learning just where the truck stops.

In Rome, I'm Megan Williams for Marketplace.