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White truck Spain Seeks To Negotiate With Truckers To Avoid Christmas Strike Spain News

The Spanish government will negotiate with truck drivers in an attempt to avoid a three-day strike by the industry association it was announced on Thursday.

Transport Minister Raquel Sanchez said, "I am convinced that through dialogue and agreement we will be able to overcome this crisis and avoid the strike that has been announced".

The minister said that although she recognised there were many issues to be addressed including a global supply shortage and soaring fuel prices, she stressed that some of the problems were outside of her control.

Truckers and their unions are also upset about other issues including limitations on the loading and unloading of trucks and the failure of the government to construct the previously promised "safe" rest areas.

It follows a recent announcement that all road users would also be subject to a pay-as-you-go style payment system to use the country’s roads which will come into effect from 2023.

"Many of their demands go beyond the competence of the ministry but are instead to do with private relations with companies," she said.

The minister also added fuel to the fire by stressing the need to boost rail transport. She said, “We must make it possible to conduct a greater proportion of freight transport, which is currently carried by road, by rail."

Vice president and Economy Minister Nadia Calvino said the government was sensitive to the needs of the sector, which she admitted was strategically essential. She suggested that negotiations would most likely prevent the need for any industrial action.

On the pay-as-you-go style ‘vignette’ system due to come into force for all road users from 2023, Calviño has not confirmed how the system will work but did agree that it would need to be made sustainable for hauliers and others in the transportation sector.

In an interview with state broadcaster TVE, she said, "There is still time to try to find a solution because it is obviously not desirable to have a strike on those dates”.

The national truck drivers association announced on Wednesday that its members would strike from midnight on December 19 to midnight on December 22, citing ‘abandonment’ by the government and exploitative behaviour by clients.