Indefinite strike looms as Spanish transport unions reject government’s offer
An indefinite transport strike in Spain is looking increasingly likely, after repesentatives of the sector today, Saturday, December 4, rejected the proposal that the Ministry of Transport, Mobility and Urban Agenda (MITMA) has offered them.
A strike was already scheduled for December 20 to 22, which MITMA had asked them to call off, but now the unions have threatened to make these protests indefinite if the Government does not come up with an offer that really solves their problems.
Secretary of State, Isabel Pardo de Vera, had led a delegation from MITMA that met yesterday, Friday 3, with representatives of employers such as the Spanish Confederation of Goods Transport (CETM), the International Road Transport Association (Astic) or the National Federation of Transport Associations of Spain (Fenadismer).
After this meeting ended, they sent a response in which they assured that in the proposal that the ministry had offered them, “There is no adequate response to issues such as the prohibition of the driver’s participation in loading and unloading operations; reduction of waiting times; mandatory application of the diesel price review clause; refund of overdue amounts of the sanitary cent; non-application of the eurovignette, and the rest of the points claimed for years”.
During the meeting, Carmelo Gonzalez Sayas, the president of the CNTC, told MITMA that the agreement adopted by the plenary session yesterday should be rejected in its entirety, on the grounds that, “Not only does it not respond to what is requested by the sector, but it is even more restrictive than the commitment assumed by the previous Secretary of State, Mr. Pedro Saura, on July 23”.
Carrier sources have reported that the ministry has promised to send them a new proposal, although it has not given them a date.
According to the Ministry, after the first meeting, it is a problem “Of a private nature, since some transport companies seek a competitive advantage over others, to get the contract, by closing agreements with the loaders, who establish that the lorry driver carries out this loading and unloading, a physical activity that makes it difficult for women to enter the sector”.
The second of the problems is related to the price of fuel. As MITMA pointed out, carriers can establish a price revision clause, “But, they usually renounce it, to gain a competitive advantage, so they end up assuming the big rise that diesel is experiencing”.
A price review policy is already being applied by the Government, “but only for contracts in which it can do so, that is, in public tenders”. Adif is already doing this to “unblock the stoppage of works in train tracks”, which the construction companies could not take on due to the high price of raw materials.
Thirdly, the employers, and the unions, both agree over the demand for rest areas on safe and guarded roads. As indicated by the Ministry, this requires “Financing, and road maintenance is already in deficit. Some of the ‘red numbers’ could be corrected by the introduction of tolls on roads, as well as encouraging the introduction of safe rest areas for lorry drivers”.
It is this last issue on which companies have already begun to pressure the Government, to prevent carriers from being affected by these future tolls, the room of problems. However, the Government figures that the amount it has already saved with the lifting of tolls on more than 1,000km of motorways in the last three years is around €355 million, as reported by larazon.es.