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Spain offers fuel subsidies to end truckers’ strike

The Spanish government on Friday offered a rebate and a onetime cash payment to end a truckers' strike over soaring fuel prices that has led to food shortages in supermarkets across the country.

Demonstrators hold a banner reading “we are not terrorists, we are truckers”, during a protest called by striking hauliers against soaring fuel prices in Madrid, on March 25, 2022. – The Spanish government on March 25, 2022 offered a rebate and a onetime cash payment to end a truckers’ strike over soaring fuel prices that has led to food shortages in supermarkets across the country. Drivers and truck owners belonging to the group called Platform for the Defence of Transport have since March 14 been blocking roads and ports to draw attention to the rise in fuel prices, which have been exacerbated by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. (Photo by Pierre-Philippe MARCOU / AFP)

The Spanish government on Friday offered a rebate and a onetime cash payment to end a truckers’ strike over soaring fuel prices that has led to food shortages in supermarkets across the country.

But the main trucker group behind the protests rejected the measures as insufficient and vowed to keep up its work stoppage.

The government offer includes a rebate of 0.20 euros ($0.22) per litre of fuel and a one-time 1,250-euro payment per truck, Transport Minister Raquel Sanchez told reporters early on Friday, adding that the total cost to the state would be around one billion euros.

“The vast majority of truckers want and need to work. With this agreement we are offering them the possibility to do so,” she added following talks with transport associations.

Drivers and truck owners belonging to the group called Platform for the Defence of Transport have since March 14 been blocking roads and ports to draw attention to the rise in fuel prices, which have been exacerbated by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The strike has disrupted supply chains in a number of industries and caused sporadic shortages of perishable foodstuffs such as eggs and dairy products.

The group’s president Manuel Hernandez rejected the government’s offer as insufficient on Friday and called for the strike to continue.

He told Spanish public radio that fuel prices would have to drop by over 0.60 euros per litre to cover truckers’ costs.

The group did not take part in the talks with the government. A planned march by the group through the centre of Madrid on Friday was going ahead.

A quarter of the rebate on fuel prices will by covered by energy companies. The rebate will come into effect on April 1 and last until June 30, and could be extended further if needed.

The fuel rebate and bonus will also apply to other transport companies, including bus and taxi drivers.

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