Monday, February 6

The Government meets with the carriers to unseat the “illegal strikes”

Empty shelves in a supermarket in Madrid. / ef

Several industries have had to stop and sales in supermarkets have grown by 23%, which means the shortage of certain products

Edurne Martinez

The strike that began a week ago today between a minority group of carriers (Platform for the Defense of the Road Freight Transport Sector) has become one of the Government’s biggest battles. Several industries, such as dairy, have had to stop due to lack of supplies, which complicates the supply of certain products in supermarkets, especially fresh ones.

This Monday, Vice President Nadia Calviño, whom given the seriousness of the situation the Government has put in charge, met with the merchandise department of the National Committee of Road Transport (CNTC), which although they have not joined the strike , there are part of its members who support it. She was accompanied by the Minister of Finance, María Jesús Montero, and the Minister of Transport, Raquel Sánchez.

In the Interior, the order has already been given to the agents to act more forcefully against the strikers, whom they consider “activists” who are carrying out an “illegal strike.”

The Police escort more than 10,000 trucks to avoid the pickets

The fear of shortages caused by this strike and by the war in Ukraine has caused Spaniards to buy much more than usual. NielsenIQ data reveals that supermarket sales soared 23% last week compared to last year, which has left “many gaps on the shelves, as in the case of milk,” they confirm from the consultancy. The products that have increased their sales the most are packaged (+27%), especially in the case of oils, which skyrocket by 290%, preserves by 45% and milk by 35% more over the same week of a year ago. In fresh products, which increased their sales by 13%, eggs stood out, growing by 27%.

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The Government wants to unsettle this situation as it is. From Mercamadrid, the largest distribution platform for fresh products in Spain, they assure that this Monday the access of merchandise has been recovered in a similar way to a usual day. The market last week received 40% less merchandise due to this strike but they explain that it seems that the situation is recovering.

At the moment the Executive continues to refuse to meet with the strikers, whom the Minister of Transport has described as “ultras” and “violent”. For its part, the Platform for the Defense of Transport claims to be detached from any political tendency and maintains that they will not call off the strike until they are received by the ministry.

For their part, the self-employed demand “immediate” aid due to the rise in energy prices. From ATA they assure that the “uncontrolled” escalation of prices directly affects one in three freelancers, more than a million professionals. Lorenzo Amor, president of the association, affirms that other European countries have already reacted and taken measures, while the Government “is late”. “We are to see them come with many announcements but no concrete fact,” denounces Amor.

The deployment of the Ministry of the Interior in this strike involves one eighth of the total number of security forces throughout the country. Marlaska maintains a total of 23,598 agents mobilized (16,476 civil guards and 7,122 police officers). Only during the day on Saturday, the Police and Civil Guard escorted a total of 10,000 trucks on their routes so as not to be attacked by the pickets.

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