MADRID (Reuters) -Truck drivers, who brought Spain to a halt earlier this year, began a new strike on Monday as hundreds marched through the capital Madrid demanding changes to road freight rules and protesting at the cost of living.
The protest by the unofficial Platform for the Defence of Transport comes a day after a large rally against the Madrid region’s public health policy and 11 days after Spain’s main unions held a general demonstration against rising living costs.
Hundreds of protesters in high-visibility vests marched through central Madrid from Atocha train station to parliament, waving posters with slogans such as: “we don’t want subsidies, we want solutions”.
The month-long strike by truckers in March and April brought Spanish supply chains to a halt, caused food shortages, triggered a bout of inflation and hit quarterly economic growth.
The Platform for the Defence of Transport called for another open-ended strike on Monday, seeking changes in road freight regulation to protect margins and keep truckers’ costs down.
Local media reported that traffic was flowing as normal on Monday in the crucial supply chain centres in the port of Barcelona and the wholesale food markets in Madrid and Seville, the country’s fourth largest city.
The truckers eventually obtained a 1 billion euro ($1.03 billion) package that included rebates on the price of diesel fuel and a 1,200-euro cash bonus. But they say the rebates have been overtaken by the rise in fuel prices since then.
“There are many people who are going bankrupt in the transport sector because they can’t cover their expenses,” said Nuria Hernan, whose husband owns a truck.
“It’s not worth going out to work,” the 45-year-old added.
($1 = 0.9668 euros)
(Reporting by Inti Landauro; Editing by Charlie Devereux, William Maclean and Alexander Smith)