New fuel nightmare looms as truckers threaten second strike

With the recent fuel strike still fresh on everybody’s mind (click here), truckers tasked with transporting “dangerous materials” have threatened another strike if their demands are not met by next week.

At the end of a fruitless meeting between the truckers union (SNMMP) and the national merchandise transportation association (ANTRAM) on Monday, union vice-president Pedro Pardal Henriques said a new strike was “very likely”.

He explained that the union has given ANTRAM one week to “give a concrete answer about the two demands that are on the table – the recognition of a specific professional category for drivers of dangerous materials and the guarantee that each driver’s base salary equates to two national minimum salaries”.

If ANTRAM refuses to meet the demands, the union will evaluate what its next step will be. Henriques also criticised the association’s representative for not being “prepared” for the meeting.

Pedro Polónio, president of ANTRAM’s board, has downplayed the threat of a new strike and said that “naturally, ANTRAM did not have any answers because, firstly, it had not received a full proposal and, secondly, a calendar for the negotiations was established until the end of the year”.

“Thus, we feel that they cannot demand immediate answers. We need to reflect,” he said.

The goal of this first meeting, Polónio said, was to “hear” what the union had to say.

“Next week, there will be another meeting in which we will attempt to proceed with the negotiations.”

The nation will be hoping for some kind of agreement, especially after the last strike showed how quickly petrol stations can run dry. In just three days, around half of the country’s petrol stations ran out of fuel completely, while others came very close.

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