“Historic agreement” ends threat of second fuel-truckers strike

The threat of a second crippling nationwide blockade by fuel-truckers later this month is officially over.

Pedro Pardal Henriques, the lawyer who has led negotiations (and tactics) since the outset of this struggle announced in the early hours of this morning: “We have reached an historic agreement, as much in financial terms as non-financial, with great recognition of this particular profession.

“For this reason, the strike that was scheduled to go ahead on May 23 has been called off”, he added.

The development followed a meeting that started yesterday afternoon and involved infrastructures minister Pedro Nuno Santos and representatives of employers’ association ANTRAM.

Says Lusa, the agreement covers all the truckers’ demands regarding pay-progressions, and includes a ban on any deliveries of ‘dangerous materials’ (including fuel) on Sundays and Bank Holidays.

Pardal Henriques said salary progressions are due to come into force from next January, with pay for drivers of dangerous materials starting at €1,400, “divided under several headings”.

The agreement hasn’t included the reduction in retirement age that the syndicate wants, but negotiations over this will be continuing, he said.

Essentially, the agreement to give truckers a break on Sundays and Bank Holidays, no matter what their timetables, was “an extremely important” one, Pardal Henriques stressed. It brings the sector in line with the rest of Europe, and gives truckers the kind of rest-periods to be with their families that they haven’t enjoyed for over 20 years.

Pardal Henriques has been the subject of many articles since supporting the national syndicate of drivers of dangerous materials (initials SNMMP) – a body that only came into being last year.

Since the strike it led just before Easter, the SNMMP has gone from being a small force with apparently no clout to speak of to a kind of David in the arena with Goliath. Membership has boomed, and in the space of just a few months, the SNMMP has become a force to be reckoned with.

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