Madrid, Nov 15 (UiTV/IANS) – Truck drivers in Spain began an indefinite strike against the rising cost of living.
The labour action, their second this year, has been organised by the unofficial Platform for the Defense of the Transport Sector, reports Xinhua news agency.
Back in March and April, the country’s truckers staged a 20-day strike, which caused major problems in the national supply chains.
The Platform, which brings together self-employed drivers and small freight companies, does not have the support of major haulage firms or Spain’s two largest unions, the General Union of Workers (UGT) and the Workers’ Commissions (CC.OO).
The demonstration kicked off on Monday in the centre of Madrid, with many drivers parking their vehicles close to Atletico Madrid’s Metropolitano Stadium and then marching along the central Paseo de la Castellana, disrupting traffic.
The strikers criticised the “lack of commitment” of the Ministry of Transport, Mobility and Urban Agenda in following through on the agreement that ended the strike in March.
Transport Minister Raquel Sanchez insisted there was “no reason” for the labour action.
“This isn’t going to help anyone, quite the contrary,” she added.
According to Eduardo Irastorza, professor at the OBS Business School, the strike, which comes just 11 days before “Black Friday” and in the run-up to the Christmas holidays, could cost the Spanish economy up to 600 million euros ($621 million) per day, especially since sales around Black Friday could increase by as much as 70 per cent.
Early indications are that in several of the country’s logistics hubs, such as in the ports of Algeciras, Barcelona and in Mercamadrid, a wholesale market in the capital Madrid, the effects of the strike have been negligible to date.