Spanish truckers on strike over fuel prices
Strikes by Spanish truckers protesting high fuel prices and working conditions have now moved into their ninth day, with drivers picketing facilities around Spain on Tuesday, reported Xinhua.
The strikes were called on March 14 by the Platform for the Defense of the Transport Sector, which represents the small and medium-sized companies that make up 85 percent of the sector.
In Barcelona, several dozen strikers picketed the entrances to the city's container port from early morning, and vowed to continue protesting.
"We have no limit. When someone has nothing to lose, then they no longer care," Francisco Rodriguez, a spokesman for the truckers, told Xinhua.
Similar scenes all over Spain have now begun to have an impact, with producers and distributors such as retail giants Danone, Heineken and Amazon warning on Tuesday that falling supply is affecting their stocks.
The Spanish Federation of Food and Drink Industries has called on the government to provide an "urgent" solution.
"The strike is working. You can see it here in the port, where the vast majority of goods that go through Barcelona are handled; today not a single container is being moved," said Rodriguez, who insisted that the truckers have broad support.
The strike has also won support from other associations in the transport sector, who joined the protest on Tuesday. Among these is Fenadismer, Spain's second-largest truckers' federation, with more than 30,000 members.
The strikers began the week with slow protest drives by thousands of trucks on Monday, which caused long traffic delays all over Spain — especially in Madrid and Barcelona.
"The strike aims to establish basic prices so that no one should have to work below cost, because it's an infringement of people's rights to make them work so hard for so many hours for no profit," said Rodriguez.
Spain's government reached an agreement with the National Road Transport Committee on Monday, which will provide the transport sector with 500 million euros (551 million U.S. dollars) in aid to offset rising fuel costs. Nevertheless, the protest's organizers say the strike will continue.
"The government has made an offer of money, of aid to help with diesel prices, but when you look at the numbers that aid is the equivalent to four cents per liter," the truckers' spokesman told Xinhua.
Meanwhile, the truckers' representatives have asked the Spanish government to provide details of how the financial aid will work, with both sides due to meet for further talks on Friday.