Europe

Spain: trucker strike sparks food supply chain tensions

In Spain, a small truck driver union called for a strike on Monday, with demonstrators demanding action over the rising cost of diesel, which they claimed was putting them in a “catastrophic” situation.

Businesses said on Thursday that an open-ended protest by some Spanish lorry drivers over rising fuel prices had sparked supply chain problems in Spain, leaving various industries struggling to cope.

The protesters had erupted into a series of blockages and protests, primarily around the country’s ports and industrial and commercial zones. 

CEOE and CEPYME, Spain’s major business lobby, which represents small and medium-sized enterprises, stated such “violent and anti-democratic acts” are “creating considerable harm to the supply chain in the industry, business, and the food sector,” all of which are still recovering from the coronavirus outbreak.

“This situation simply exacerbates the challenges that Spanish companies face across the board… due to out-of-control energy bills, which the Ukraine conflict has exacerbated,” they stated.

They demanded “urgent” government action to ease the impact of soaring prices on companies.

Spain’s national federation of dairy industries, FENIL, said the strike forced several members to halt production.

FENIL’s director Luis Calabozo told the radio that milk is a “major food commodity that is perishable and… needs to be collected every day,” which can only be done with the “free circulation of trucks.”

Moreover, the government has appealed for the strike to be called off. “We are seeing acts of aggression by a small group of truckers who are obstructing other truckers who are working to assure the supply other primary commodities and food at a crucial time,” government spokesperson Isabel Rodriguez tweeted.

“We cannot allow violence and force to deter those who want to work from working in a democratic country,” said Transport Minister Raquel Sanchez.

Since the end of last year, social discontent in Spain has grown as a result of spiralling annual inflation, which reached 7.6% in February, the highest level in 35 years.

Since the end of last year, there has been growing social discontent in Spain over runaway annual inflation, which jumped to 7.6 per cent in February, its highest level in 35 years.

Spain’s two largest unions, the UGT and the CCOO have called a national strike on March 23rd, while the far-right Vox has asked people to participate in nationwide protests on Saturday.

The administration announced on Wednesday evening that it would take efforts to lower energy and gasoline prices but did not specify how.

Pedro Sánchez, the Prime Minister of Spain, is on a European tour to lobby for a common European response to rising energy prices.

 

Zurab Kvaratskhelia

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