Striking truckers dig-in: “No-one will be doing anything today”
The truckers strike – hitting deliveries to fuel stations up and down the country – has reached a new low with syndicate leaders declaring mutiny.
“Minimum services” – imposed by the government – are being flouted as is the ‘civil requisition’: the legal mechanism actioned on Monday to ‘force drivers back on the road’.
The reason stems from news that 14 drivers who called in sick on Tuesday are being notified under the terms of the civil requisition for the crime of disobedience.
Three of those drivers come from the Algarve, environment and energetic transition minister João Pedro Matos Fernandes told reporters.
The government’s ‘hardline’ is being interpreted as bid to show strength and leadership ahead of October’s general election.
But syndicate leader Pedro Pardal Henriques has said it simply shows his members are being treated as criminals – and for that reason, “no one will be doing anything today. We won’t comply with minimum services, nor with the civil requisition”, he told reporters from Aveiras da Cima today.
Indeed, Henriques has said that if authorities want to make an example of 14 men, they may as well send trucks to collect the hundreds of others involved in this dispute.
With syndicates stressing they are ready to get round the negotiating table with employers association ANTRAM, ANTRAM is saying it won’t agree to anything until the strike is called off.
Police agents and the military have meantime been drafted in to drive trucks, with the government assuring the Algarve will be ‘reinforced’ overnight tonight, so that low supplies at Faro airport and at various fuel stations can be replenished.
Ministers remain steadfastly determined to show the government has this crisis ‘covered’, but how today pans out will be crucial.
Público has reported that training for incoming substitute drivers has not been sufficient, and a number do not feel confident carrying dangerous cargo (like fuel).
Nonetheless, for now, there have been no ‘catastrophes’: airplanes are still coming and going, car rental companies are hiring out vehicles, hospitals are running, hotels too. It’s just a question of whether this can all continue until a truce is reached.
For anyone driving round the country, a website is online giving details of all the stations where fuel is available (click here).