March 17, 2022
MADRID (Reuters) – A truck drivers’ strike for better working conditions has caused disruption at some supermarkets and certain industries in Spain, with dairy food producers complaining on Thursday of some supply shortages as they received less milk.
Truck drivers and small truck owners group the Platform for the Defence of Transport, went on strike on Monday demanding lower taxes and lighter regulations to improve a situation they describe as “total bankruptcy.”
“Diesel is the straw that broke the camel’s back,” said Jose Hernandez, a representative for the Platform and a truck driver who lost his job on March 7. His company stopped operating because the fees it earned didn’t cover costs.
Soaring energy costs, exacerbated by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, have compounded general price increases, threatening to slow down the post-pandemic economic recovery and generating social discontent in many countries.
The Spanish Federation of Food and Drink Industries (FIAB) urged the government to act against road blockages in some industrial areas in Spain that have partially compromised the supply of cattle feed to farms, packaging materials to factories and the flow of some fresh products to supermarkets.
Some of the pickets have turned violent.
“We cannot let a violent minority hijack the rights of a majority who want to work,” Mauricio Garcia de Quevedo, FIAB’s head said.
Transport Minister Raquel Sanchez labelled the protest a “boycott linked to far-right groups”, a link which Hernandez denied calling the Platform non-partisan. The Interior Ministry has reinforced security on the roads with 23,600 police officers to guarantee food supply.
The government had reached an agreement with the country’s main truckers’ unions to avoid a three-day strike in late 2021.
(Reporting by Emma Pinedo and Inti Landauro, editing by Andrei Khalip, Alexandra Hudson)