"There will be an agreement, but it will be a patch"


Lorenzo López is 56 years old and has been in the road transport sector since he was 20. He started with the press distribution, progressed, became autonomous, went bankrupt after the financial crisis of 2008 and today he works as a salaried worker, traveling through Europe further. This morning he participated, without great illusions, in the march through Madrid of about thirty trucks, convened by the freight transport employer to force the Government to a pact before Christmas. "Like other times, there will be an agreement, but it will be a patch," he predicts.

The transport sector has been threatening a strike for a month, scheduled for next December 20, 21 and 22, in the middle of the Christmas season. There are four reasons: that truckers stop loading and unloading goods; that the Eurovignette, a circulation tax for heavy transport, is not applied in Spain; that the fuel cost review clauses are mandatory and that safe rest areas are built. The trucks and vans left the Ifema fairgrounds and went to the headquarters of the Ministry of Transport, next to Paseo de la Castellana, significantly slowing down traffic. "There has been no significant progress and we maintain the call for employers' strike", indicated this morning, before starting engines, the general director of the Madrid division of the Spanish Confederation of Freight Transport, Jorge Somoza. There were no more than 30 trucks, explained those present, because the Government Delegation did not authorize a larger presence so as not to collapse traffic.



The problem of who has to do the unloading was what the transporters pointed out the most minutes before starting the road. "Before they downloaded it to you [las empresas compradoras], now they make a tunic out of his cape, "laments Francisco Durán, who went to the exit to support his companions, although he no longer makes long trips because a few years ago he suffered a stroke." It's in my blood, but I can't keep up, "he says, while warning that there is no generational change in the sector, because they don't charge that much anymore" and a kid spend from nine to 10 hours [en carretera] Penando is not cool for him. "For Lorenzo López," there is a lack of personnel to download. It costs companies money and everyone wants to save four dollars. And how do you force them? He who refuses, does not return. This is going to fall on deaf ears, "he opined. Salaries in his company are between 1,800 and 2,000. He assures that their bosses treat them well, that they don't yell at them.

Fuel has become 33% more expensive in the last year, according to Jorge Somoza, who indicates that a journey from Madrid to Barcelona today costs between 60 and 70 euros more than at the beginning of 2021. José Caballero has a company with eight trucks, but he says which, with the rise in diesel, has been unpaid for four months. "70% of fuel is taxes and now they want us to pay for the highways. It is the last straw," he protests. The Eurovignette is not in force in Spain, although the Government is studying its implementation.



José Miguel Corral, a 38-year-old freelancer, points out other issues, such as payment delays, which should not exceed 60 days, but commonly take longer. "Some companies use you as a financier," he complains. That contracts do not adapt to variations in fuel prices leaves many without room for maneuver. "The bread this year has risen three times, but we have not," he points out.

Little was said about the fourth point of conflict, the need to build safe rest areas, this morning, beyond some tangential anecdote, such as the difficulties in finding an unclosed toilet during the months of confinement, in which the truckers went from the few professionals who did not stop. The jokes weren't many, in any case. The transporter López and other colleagues warned of the serious consequences if the differences between the Government and the employers are not closed: "If the transport does not move, the country does not move."

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