“Time for this strike is over” government tells striking truckers
“The time for this strike is over”. This is the message of the government following the decision by SIMM (the smallest syndicate involved in the nationwide truckers strike)late last night to go back to work.
SIMM’s president Anacleto Rodrigues has agreed the effects of the strike were not what his members had expected and thus they were ready to resume negotiations with employers ANTRAM, now scheduled for September.
The syndicate of drivers of dangerous materials, SNMMP – the real power behind the unrest – has nonetheless maintained its stance, with figurehead Pedro Pardal Henriques promising a statement at 9am this morning.
Behind the scenes, ANTRAM reached “an historic deal” with FECTRANS, the union not involved in current strike action, ahead of yesterday’s Bank Holiday, thus bit by bit the impression that truckers cannot be turned is falling away.
Tweeting his delight that mediation has at last brought results, prime minister António Costa commented that “no one would want to stay in a sterile strike that compromises dialogue”.
It is looking increasingly likely that the 9am statement today could signal a return to normality.
But it was not to be. The much-awaited statement from the SNMMP was that the syndicate and its members do not feel isolated at all, and are “as hard as steel.
Syndicate president Francisco São Bento told the posse of waiting journalists this morning: “Workers continue mobilised and continue to believe” (in the relevance of the struggle).
Bosses ANTRAM “survive on the 14, 15 and 16-hour days that workers complete” in order to fulfill their schedules, he said, suggesting if necessary the strike could go on for months.
With contingency measures introduced by the government ‘more or less’ keeping the country from the brink, fears are that they cannot possibly continue to do so if the dispute lasts much longer.
Quite apart from pulling police and military from their normal duties, this strike is already costing the sector dearly, for the simple reason that so many fuel stations have run dry.