(re-ledes with end of strike)


Powerful Argentine union chief Hugo Moyano announced Thursday the end of a fuel-transport strike after reaching agreement with employers on a 25.5 percent salary hike.

Despite the accord, Moyano said the truckers' union still is calling on Cristina Fernandez's government to raise the threshold for income tax and is planning a strike throughout the trucking industry for next Wednesday if that demand is not met.

"The strike has been lifted and fuel distribution is back to normal," said the teamsters boss, who also heads the General Confederation of Workers, Argentina's largest labor federation.

Moyano, an ally of Fernandez's government until recent months, termed "absurd" the criminal complaint officials filed against him and his son, Pablo - No. 2 in the truckers union - for alleged "aggravated threats with the objective of obtaining measures or concessions by force from the public powers."

"It's as if we were under a military dictatorship. You can't make demands, you can't hold protests," Moyano said.

The union leader also said next Wednesday's strike will include a rally at Buenos Aires' Plaza de Mayo, across from the presidential palace, and encouraged the participation of "all workers who feel they've been harmed" by having to pay income tax.

The truckers strike threatened to paralyze industry and leave several regions of Argentina without gas, electricity and transportation service in the middle of the Southern Hemisphere winter, Planning Minister Julio de Vido said earlier Thursday.

"If this chaos of leaving people without supplies of fuel continues, we are going to have problems with the provision of electricity and natural gas. We are extremely concerned about the situation. This is a humanitarian problem," De Vido said in a press conference. EFE