MADRID (AFP) — Three Spanish road haulage associations on Monday temporarily suspended an indefinite strike over soaring fuel costs that have caused traffic chaos and food distribution problems.
Spanish truckers were just the latest in a series of lorry drivers Europe-wide to strike or stage go-slow protest to highlight the escalating cost of fuel.
In a statement, Antid, Confedetrans and Fenadismer said the move was intended to avoid causing further damages to the "beat up" sector, but they did not ruled out future protest action.
"The government has managed to block the bloody wound which this sector faces but it has not cured it and sooner or later it will open up again," Fenadismer president Julio Villascusa told public radio RNE.
There is now only one one truck drivers' association, the "Platform for the Defence of the Transport Sector", still on strike.
The association, which says it represents 40,000 to 50,000 truckers, confirmed its strike at a meeting late Monday, calling for "an urgent solution to the serious crisis that our sector is suffering and which is leading to disappearance of thousands of jobs."
It had urged its members to drive into Madrid on Monday to protest the government's failure to meet its demands.
Several hundred truckers answered the call but their trucks were prevented by police from entering the Spanish capital.
Last week, Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero's government signed a deal with non-striking road hauliers, representing 88 percent of the industry, on tax relief and other measures to ease the impact of the fuel costs.
But the government has refused to set up a minimum, guaranteed rate for haulage services as demanded by the striking truckers.
The truckers' indefinite strike, accompanying go-slow and picketed barricades, began on June 7. A truck driver was run over and killed by a van three days later as he manned a picket line in the southern city of Granada.
Traffic began to return to normal on Thursday after police cleared picket lines and barricades.
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