File image of the strike last March / RC

New hauliers' strike called for next week in Spain threatens chaos similar to last March

The Platform for the Defence of Transport wants more government help and claims between 200 and 250 companies in the haulage sector are closing every month for financial reasons

CLARA ALBA / JOSÉ MARÍA CAMARERO MADRID.

The haulage sector in Spain is going on strike again. The Platform for the Defence of Transport has called an indefinite protest from midnight on Sunday, similar to the one which caused chaos in March when the lack of transport affected supermarket supplies and meant that some major dairy and beer producers were unable to operate.

The leader of the association, Manuel Hernández, announced the strike this Monday morning, saying it was inevitable because costs have increased so much. He said between 200 and 250 companies in the haulage sector are closing every month for financial reasons.

This new stoppage has come after the government agreed measures with the biggest transport organisations, which form part of the National Road Transport Committee (CNTC).

These include a new law so hauliers do not operate at a loss and a 450-million-euro direct aid package for the sector. These are in addition to those approved in 2021 and in April 2022, such as the 20-cent fuel discount, the ban on drivers loading and unloading, restricting waiting times in loading and unloading areas to one hour, more inspections and assistance for those who want to leave the profession.

However, Hernández insisted that the loaders (clients of the haulage companies) are still not complying with the law that prevents losses in the sector and accused the Ministry of Transport of preventing the Guardia Civil controlling the problem.

Transport Minister "concerned"

Shortly before the announcement the Minister for Transport, Mobility and Urban Agenda, Raquel Sánchez, said she was concerned at the prospect of another strike, especially at such a difficult time, and called on the association to be “responsible”. She said the government had fulfilled all the agreements it had made with the sector, but was prepared to make any minor adjustments that might be helpful.

Sánchez also pointed out that the transport decree agreed with the sector guaranteed that no business would work at a loss and that if a situation arises where this is not the case, there is a system to report it.