Monday, January 24

The countryside drowns and considers joining the transporters’ strike in December




Social discontent increases in intensity while the Government continues to defend that “Spain is doing better.” If last week it was the carriers who announced strikes on December 20 and 22, Now it is the field that is weighing this week if it joins the protest over the damage that the rise in prices is doing to its business. Everything indicates that they will do so, according to sources consulted by ABC. In this way, a real ‘tsunami’ of social unrest is brewing that shakes the idyllic Spain of Pedro Sánchez at a time when the economy comes to a halt, wages lose purchasing power and prices are suffocating households on the eve of Christmas .

And the fact is that the October CPI closed with a year-on-year rise of 5.4%, the highest level in 29 years.

After the carriers, it is now the countryside that is considering taking the step and joining the protests in December. According to sources in the sector, other actions are also being considered, such as the call for a concentration in front of the Ministry of Agriculture in Madrid on the 24th of this month by the sectors most affected by inflation, such as dairy or fruit and vegetables. The main agricultural organizations (Asaja, COAG and UPA) sent a letter to the Minister of Agriculture, Luis Planas, on November 11, in which they asked for an urgent meeting to launch an emergency plan to alleviate this situation. A few days before, Asaja, already sent another letter requesting an appointment with the head of Agriculture. Sources from this department have told ABC what is being done «Constant monitoring of the situation. The dialogue is fluid and continuous » In this sense, they have added, that agrarian organizations will be received “as soon as there is an opportunity” and they recalled that “the minister met in person with them in October.”

All this occurs in a context in which farmers and ranchers fear that the application of the new conditions will be adverse. According to Asaja estimates with October data, only the fertilizers have seen their price skyrocket in the last year between 239 and 307%. The same happens with seeds, which in the case of wheat went from a price of 335 euros / ton to 400 euros / ton, 19% more, according to this producer organization. For his part, agricultural diesel It has become almost 73% more expensive while feed for livestock has skyrocketed between October 2020 and last month by 27%. Electric energy, according to Asaja, has become more expensive for farmers and ranchers by 270%, plastics by 46%, water by 33% and machinery between 10 and 25%.

Also the fishing It could give Sánchez the occasional headache if Brussels puts on the table a new cut in the days of fishing for the Mediterranean trawl fleet. At stake, the activity of some 600 ships and the 17,000 direct and indirect jobs generated. The sector threatens a strike during the celebration of the last European Fisheries Council of the year on December 13 and 14.

The largest mobilization since 2020

If finally the main agrarian organizations choose this week to join the transporters’ strike in December, we would be facing the greater turmoil in the field since the mobilizations at the beginning of 2020, which forced the current reform of the Chain Law and which the emergence of Covid put an end to.

In any case, the motivations of that wave of protests remain intact: the increase in production costs and prices at source (wages) insufficient to cover the former, with a fall in agricultural income. A situation that has aggravated the rise in inflation that affects important raw materials for agricultural and livestock operations such as fertilizers, diesel, plastics and, above all, electricity. To this are added other policies that have been broadening the gap between the field and the government. Such is the case of the controversy around the wolf, for example.

Demonstrations in the dairy sector

A bloody example of the above is the milk sector and the problems around the prices that dairy producers receive and that this activity is very divided. Specifically, last week’s meeting at the Ministry of Agriculture ended without progress. Given the aspiration of some agricultural organizations that the value of milk be paid to 40 cents per liter for the farmer taking into account the rise in production costs, Industry and Distribution did not show signs of opening up to an eventual price increase. In parallel, in recent weeks, the sector has deployed a calendar of mobilizations in places such as Galicia, Cantabria and Castilla y León.

“Abandonment of the Government”

Pending the decision of the field, the call of the carriers is already marked in red on the calendar. The group thus puts pressure on the Government “After years of neglect” of the sector, which has been asking for the support of the Administration for months on issues such as the implementation of tolls on motorways, the mandatory application of the fuel cost review clause (which represents 40% of the sector’s costs) or the construction of safe rest areas for professionals.

The threats of mobilizations have been increasing for months also on account of the reformist demand imposed by Brussels on the labor and pension market. The decision that the Minister of Economy, Nadia Calviño, be represented at the table that studies labor changes has not been enthusiastically received by the unions, which insist on demanding the promised repeal of the reform. Otherwise, they threaten to go out on the street, just as if pensions are cut. A trip in which they have Yolanda Díaz on their side, determined to repeal the Rajoy reform and opposed to touching any piece of the pension system that reduces the amounts.

As already reported by ABC, lInflation does not give up and also impoverishes households, which already pay 62.8% more expensive for electricity than a year ago. A higher cost that adds to the rise in gasoline by 26.5% and diesel by 30.5%, according to the INE. Added to the escalation of electricity and fuel are the problems of maritime transport and, now, its transfer to direct sales prices. All this has meant that the shopping basket is becoming a luxury for families. Added to the rise in legumes and eggs is that of some fish, which in the wholesale market are already paid between 30% and 50% more expensive.

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