Spanish lorry drivers announce a three-day strike ahead of Christmas
Spain’s National Road Transportation Committee (CNTC) announced a three-day strike yesterday (Wednesday), between December 20th and 22nd, to protest against what it calls ‘the government’s failure to address a crisis in the sector’. In a press release issued last night, the CNTC, which represents freight lorry drivers in Spain, accused the administration of “neglect,” arguing that “all reasonable channels of negotiation have been exhausted.” The strike was called following a meeting with Jaime Moreno, the managing director of Ground Transportation.
The CNTC said the action was in response to the “exorbitant rise” in the cost of diesel, which it described as the “deathblow to a sector that has been struggling since before the pandemic.” Diesel represents around one-third of the industry’s costs.
The CNTC has, however, left the door open to further negotiation with the Spanish government. “Only radical and urgent change from the government and clients, in reference to the companies that hire trucking services, can prevent this conflict,” the document stated.
If the strike is not called off, it could negatively affect the supply chain ahead of Christmas, as the dates are key days for business, when more is sold than at any other time of the year. The last national strike from the sector took place in June 2008, at the beginning of the financial crisis, and led to massive bottlenecks and fuel shortages across the country.
In the press release, the committee alluded to ‘several years’ of negotiations on issues such as banning drivers from having to load and unload freight, the road tolls for heavy transportation, creating safe rest spaces, and the automatic renewals of fees that reflect the rise in the cost of fuel, a measure the sector said is not being met.
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According to the press release, these problems are compounded by “the absolute lack of sensitivity from our clients, who take advantage of their position of power granted to them by the current regulation on contracting road freight transportation.” The CNTC added that the “degrading and inhumane treatment” is also to blame for the shortage of professional lorry drivers in the country.
In Spain, around 15,000 drivers are needed, and although this shortfall is not a major factor, it is one of the main things contributing to the global supply chain crisis.
Concerns of a strike had been brewing for some time before yesterday. The general secretary of the National Federation of Transportation Association in Spain (Fenadismer), Juan José Gil, raised the idea last week in an interview with EL PAÍS, saying that a strike could be called to protest the rise in fuel prices, which have spiked by 30% since the beginning of the year, and 40% in the last 12 months. “I don’t know if it will get to that point, but we are not ruling it out,” he said. Now, these fears have turned into reality.