Thousands of Spanish truck drivers began an indefinite strike on Monday because they say their costs outweigh what they earn.
The industrial action was called by the same platform behind a crippling strike in March, which unofficially represents self-employed truck drivers and small businesses.
While the majority of Spain’s truck drivers continued operating normally and police were deployed to ensure their work would not be interrupted, the day began with some minor incidents.
In Cantabria, six semi-trailer trucks were set ablaze in the early morning. In Toledo, some trucks had their tires slashed. And in Cadiz, authorities say protesters started a small tire fire.
In Madrid, police say 3,000 protesters took to the street to demand better working conditions for the transport sector. Organizers say that as many as 8,000 protesters showed up.
If the government does not give in to their demands, Miguel Hernandez, the man at the helm of the strike, warned that “a very dark Christmas is coming.”
But the Transport Ministry and other trucking associations say that pickups and deliveries continue with normality.
“This proves what we have been saying: that the majority of the transport sector wants to work and recognizes the advances we have made,” Transport Minister Raquel Sanchez told broadcaster La Sexta on Monday. “But we are working hard to continue improving.”
The main demand of the striking truckers is for the government to ensure they do not lose money when they work. In August, the government enshrined that demand into law, but strikers say there has not been any enforcement.
While the government is not negotiating with the unofficial platform directly, the transport minister said all truckers have to do is make formal complaints about working conditions so inspectors can be deployed.
In March, the strike led by the same platform lasted nearly three weeks. At that time, supermarkets were eventually left with nearly empty shelves and estimated losses of €130 million ($134 million) per day. At the same time, some factories ran out of supplies and had to shut down production entirely.
With this strike ahead of major shopping events like Black Friday and Christmas, Eduardo Irastorza, a professor of OBS Business School, estimates that if a similar situation were to occur, the Spanish economy could lose €600 million per day.
Source: Anadolu Agency