Spanish haulier strike: protester arrested for throwing stones at HGV

The Spanish haulier strike is now over ten days old and tensions and disappointment are growing – both on the side of the protestors and the business affected. A protester has been arrested for throwing stones at a truck, while manufacturers and distributors have urged for the strike to end - claiming that more than 100,000 jobs are in danger due to production being halted.

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The stone-throwing incident happened last week in the region of Pontevedra. A protester threw several stones at a truck travelling on the AP-9 road. The stones fractured the window and windshield, and a front tyre was also punctured because a spiked panel was “strategically placed on the road,” reports the Civil Guard.

The damages, estimated at €2,500, led to the immobilization of the truck. The culprit was identified and will face court.

Between Monday March 13th and the morning of March 23rd, the Spanish police and the Civil Guard arrested 61 people and investigated another 455 due to incidents related to the protests.

The haulage protest, organised by Plataforma en Defensa del Sector del Transporte (Platform in Defense of the Transport Sector), started last Monday. Its aim is to pressure the government into helping SME transportation companies deal with increasing fuel prices. The protestors also want measures to improve working conditions.

The Spanish government, however,has refused talks with the protesters, saying that the majority of employers do not support strikes organised by a “radical minority”. It also referred to incidents like the aforementioned stone-throwing. To guarantee the supply of essential goods and avoid violent incidents, the government also mobilized 23,000 police officers last Thursday.

As a result of the strike, supply chain disruptions became obvious by the end of last week. Factories, including the steel plant in ArcelorMittal, the Ford factory in Valencia, and the sugar production facility at Azucarera (the only one of its kind operating year-round in Spain) had to suspend production due to shortages in supplies. This week, more factories have announced the suspension of production – including those owned by Danone, Estrella Galicia and Heineken-Cruzcampo.

Traders, farmers and producers are urging the Spanish government not to waste a second and stop the protests as soon as possible, because the current situation is putting the supply of products “at clear risk, as well as the continuity of thousands of business and jobs”.

The determination of the protesters has not diminished and even appears to be growing. More hauliers are joining the strike, and their aim is to make the government resign.

The government is planning another meeting with transportation organisations today. However, Platform, the association organising this current strike, is not invited.

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