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    INTERNATIONAL NEWS

    80 percent of Spain's gas retailers strike for two days.

    Thousands of gas station workers across Spain went on strike for higher wages, a reduction in working hours and overtime pay yesterday, according to The Associated Press.

    The strike was called by Spain's two major labor unions, UGT and Comisiones Obreras, which called for the 48 hour strike. The unions demand an annual pay increase of 600 euros ($765 USD) and an eight-hour reduction in their 40-hour work week, the report stated. For national holidays and Sundays, the workers are also demanding a 60 euro ($76 USD) bonus and a 9 euro ($11.40 USD) hourly payment for overtime.

    "A worker earns 800 euro ($1,020 USD) before taxes per month and we're not going to let this situation continue," Ramon Ruiz of UGT told El Pais.

    The strike began at midnight yesterday and affected 80 percent of the country's 7,500 retail fuel stations, according to the labor unions.

    The Industry Ministry required 20 percent of the stations to remain open throughout the strike, but long lines still formed at pumps prior to the strike on Monday night, the report stated.

    In other international news, Research and Markets' Convenience Stores Market Report found that the total number of food related stores developed by the top 30 international operators have increased by 23 percent over the last five years. Co-ops and convenience stores have grown 15 and 18 percent, respectively, due to store acquisitions.

    In Asia, Central and Eastern Europe, convenience store retailing is estimated to be worth 251 billion euros, and possesses a large potential for growth as middle classes expand and national and international retailers invest in those areas. Convenience in retailing has become key in the European retail industry, the report stated, and driven the demand for potential earnings for the convenience channel there.

    The report also explained that to further the strong growth in Europe, convenience retailers need to maintain customer focus, strong retail concepts, scale, supply chain expertise and well-trained, motivated staff.

    The Research and Markets report mentions the operations of international convenience retailers such as Tesco, BP, 7-Eleven Alimentation Couche-Tard and Casey's General Stores.

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