Confirming recent speculation about such a move, fuel retailing staff in Italy have taken strike action to protest about the Italian government's decision to liberalize the petrol retailing market.

As reported by PetrolPlaza, many fuel stations will be shut from 7pm on Tuesday February 6, 2007 until 7am on Friday February 9, 2007 as staff protest against the Italian government’s new law to allow non-traditional players access to the fuel retailing sector.

Forecourt staff unions say that they intend to carry out a total of 14 days of protest. Concerns are that large retailers, such as supermarket chains, will now use the change in the law to enter the fuel arena, and that this will create price margin pressure that will put many traditional providers out of business.

However, Rome has described the changes, which came into force at the end of January, as a necessary modernizing step.