MADRID (AP) — The Spanish government and the country’s main trucking federations have reached an agreement on financial aid for an industry that is suffering from high gasoline prices, but independent truckers said on Friday they would pursue a 12 day strike.
Russia’s war in Ukraine has helped push up gasoline prices in Europe, making it more expensive for truckers to fuel their vehicles.
After 12 hours of negotiations that ended after midnight, the Socialist-led government announced it was giving a 0.20 euro ($0.22) per liter petrol rebate to truckers as part of a package of measures worth more than one billion euros ($1.1 billion). A liter of gasoline for truckers currently costs around 1.80 euros ($2).
Spanish Transport Minister Raquel Sánchez said the rebate would result in savings of around 700 euros ($771) per month per truck. The government has announced that it will also provide 450 million euros ($495 million) in direct financial aid to road transport companies, as well as special credit conditions.
The Platform for the Defense of the Road Transport Sector, which is not affiliated with the major national trucking associations or Spanish road transport companies and does not sit at the sector’s negotiating table with the government, called on its members to continue their strike and take part in a street demonstration in Madrid on Friday.
The group said it would not budge from its demands, which go beyond gas prices. She claims big distribution companies are engaging in unfair competition, driving down freight prices, and calls for better working conditions for truckers, including retirement at 60.
“After 12 days, we are not going to throw in the towel. It’s now or never,” the Platform said on its Facebook page.
The strike has disrupted supply chains and caused scattered shortages in stores of fresh produce, such as vegetables, milk and fish. Thousands of police escorted convoys of trucks and arrested picketers who tried to prevent truckers from working.
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