A small sector of the Spanish trucking industry ground to a halt this week after truck drivers called for an open-ended strike on Monday. The small group of truckers have organized road blocks and refuse to transport goods in protest of rising diesel prices, among other grievances, Reuters reports.
The effects of the strike are rippling out and are now impacting the food industry of the entire country, per Reuters. Dairy food producers in Spain say that milk supplies are running low, and local news claim fruit and fish supplies decreased this week by an estimated 20 and 38 percent, respectively.
The strike in Spain has little to do with strikes we’ve seen in the West, which were largely opposed to COVID-19 mandates. The Spanish strike is reportedly linked to Europe’s stalled post-pandemic recovery and social discontent, as Reuters claims.
The Russian invasion of Ukraine has made energy prices soar across the EU, and the cost of diesel has become prohibitively expensive even among the commercial sector. A few truck companies stopped operating due to high costs resulting in job losses for some.
These out-of-work Spanish truckers, or camioneros, have joined the strike. The truckers are not with any major union or trade group to represent them before the Spanish government. The truckers say they’re with the Platform for the Defense of Transport — in shortened form — a group of independent truckers established in 2008 to demand lower taxes and less regulation.
The Spanish government accuses the Platform of having ties to far-right groups, but the truckers deny the allegations. They claim to be non-partisan, stressing that any allegations of extremism from Spain’s Transport Ministry are merely an attempt to criminalize and discredit them.
The strike, however, has incited violence. Truckers on strike are allegedly throwing rocks at trucks (those still operating), tearing truck tarps and trying to puncture tires. The Spanish government deployed 23,000 police officers via patrol cars and helicopters to escort the strikers away from major roads, per the Associated Press.
The strikers plan to keep striking and continue blocking roads, with a push throughout major cities in Spain on Saturday. For its part, the Spanish government says it plans to deal with the rise in fuel prices within the month, as the AP reports.