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Hoping to end trucker strike, Spain agrees $551 million transport aid package -Breaking


© Reuters. Slow march by truckers amid strikes for better work conditions in Valencia (Spain), March 21st, 2022. REUTERS/Eva Manez

MADRID (Reuters – Spain’s government has agreed to provide 500 million euros ($551.35 millions) as direct assistance for the transport sector Monday. The money will be used to support truck drivers in weathering rising fuel costs, which have pushed them to strike and caused further chaos within supply chains.

Raquel Sanchez, Transport Minister said that a subsidy will be introduced on professional diesel prices to ensure that it has a positive impact. He spoke after his meeting with National Road Transport Committee (CNTC).

The measure, which she said was consistent with similar measures taken in France Portugal Italy, France and Italy would be in effect starting April 1. It will not lower VAT, the value-added tax on fuel.

Following a discussion by the European Commission, the plan is a temporary framework for state assistance to the EU in times of high global inflation. This was exacerbated after Russia invaded Ukraine.

Such support could be granted in any form, including guarantees, subsidised loans and limited grants to partially compensate companies, particularly intensive energy users, for energy price increases, the EU said earlier in March.

Last Monday saw record diesel prices prompt a group of truck drivers and owners known as the Platform for the Defence of Transport to strike. They demanded lower taxes and fewer regulations.

Jose Hernandez (a Platform representative and a former truck driver) told Reuters that diesel was the straw that broke camel’s back. The fees earned by his company didn’t cover the costs so he stopped running it.

Although only a few drivers are affected by the strike, the disruption has created massive congestion across the country. This led to factories having to stop production due not being able guarantee that deliveries will be made on schedule.

Juan Vieites was the secretary general for the national association of fish producers. He said the strike was paralysing country and that coastal regions in Galicia, Asturias, Andalucia were the worst-affected.

Police were called to assist Vieites after they attacked and pelted the truck of striking transport workers with rocks as it tried to leave Vigo port.

He stated that Spain must act or face a serious problem.

($1 = 0.9069 euros)

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