Monday, December 4

The food industry warns of shortage problems due to the strike of carriers

A trickle of notices from different sectors, especially manufacturers in the food sector, who warn about the problems they have to operate normally due to the strikes that the transport sector has called.

Why have carriers called strikes in December? The keys to mobilization on Christmas Eve

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A strike that is not widespread, nor called by the main associations in the sector – those that have representation in the body that interacts with the Government – and that, however, has highlighted the lack of unity in the transport sector due to highway.

The indefinite strike, which began on Monday, is called by the Platform in Defense of the National and International Road Freight Transport Sector, which, according to other associations in the sector, is a minority. Despite being so, this Wednesday different industries have already warned that they see difficulties in producing, due to problems of shortages, lack of inputs, and have urged the Government to act.

Roadblocks and incidents

One of the main criticisms comes from the Spanish Federation of Food and Drink Industries (FIAB), the employers’ association that brings together the entire food industry. They denounce that in recent days, there are carriers who have blocked roads and caused incidents at the gates of factories, logistics centers and livestock farms to prevent the operation of the food chain.

If this chain does not work, they warn, the main problem will be in the production of perishable food, fresh food, and there may be a lack of stock in stores and supermarkets.

In addition, they recall that the sector is already experiencing a moment of tension due to the lack of raw materials caused by the war in Ukraine, especially due to the lack of cereals and sunflower oil, which is now aggravated.

It is not the only warning. The Spanish dairy industry has announced that it is forced to suspend its processing activity as a result of the strike, because they already notice the lack of the necessary inputs for the production of dairy products, their packaging and storage.

The mineral water sector may also have problems, because they are not being able to get their products out of their plants. And, in the same direction, the livestock industry that not only has difficulties to operate normally due to lack of feed, but also when it comes to taking the animals to slaughterhouses.

At the same time, the Association of Wholesale Entrepreneurs of the Central Fruit Market of Madrid affirms that it is perceiving a “significant reduction” in the arrival of fruit and vegetable merchandise, but, for the moment, it does not see supply interruptions.

Concern in the Government

The Government assumes that the strike is having consequences, even though it was called by a minority organization. “We are concerned and closely following this issue so that it does not cause any shortage situation, although there have already been occasional disruptions in the fishing sector, as well as in the fruit and vegetable sector,” said the Minister of Agriculture, Fishing and Food, Luis Planas, at a press conference.

Planas stressed that the strike, for the moment, “has affected a small part” of the industry, “but the strike cannot paralyze the functioning of the economy and in particular the food sector.”

In the same direction, the Minister of Transport, Mobility and Urban Agenda, Raquel Sánchez, has pointed out. In her case, she warns that she will act “strongly” against “violence” by some carriers on strike, even though they have the right to stop.

“They have the right to claim but not to prevent the free exercise of the profession to the majority of carriers, because the majority want to continue doing their work,” he said after a meeting with the National Committee for Road Transport (CNTC). , which considers the body “legitimate and democratically elected.”

It is with this body that the Executive is meeting – which has not called the strikes – and with which it is negotiating measures such as publishing weekly, instead of monthly, the reference index for fuel prices, as well as review of prices paid to carriers.

What is the National Committee for Road Transport and who does it represent?

The backdrop for the stoppages in recent days is not only the situation experienced by carriers, due to the evolution of fuel prices and by the regulation of their work, also the situation of the sector and its representativeness. In the stoppages last December, on Christmas Eve, the debate was opened as to whether they were called by the employers and not by the workers, by the truckers.

Different business associations are represented in the National Committee for Road Transport, depending on their representativeness and which is constituted for periods of four years, depending on the bases published by the Ministry headed by Raquel Sánchez.

Until 2025, the Spanish Freight Transport Confederation (CETM) will be on the Committee, which has a weight of 53%. In addition, Fenadismer (26%) and, already with less than 10% representation, three other associations, Fetransa, Feintra and Astic.

The Platform in Defense of the Freight Transport Sector is not on the Committee, which calls for the indefinite strikes in progress since last Monday, and which states that it has not heard from the Ministry in its demands. In addition, they point out that in the CETM are the large operators, when the small ones bring together 85% of the sector.