Newsletter: Spanish government mobilises police against truckers
1. Let's do another thread about the truckers strike in Spain. Transport Minister Raquel Sánchez (PSOE) has said that they are “a bunch of extremists trying to subject this country to blackmail and replacing words with sticks, nails and stones”.
2. The minister specified that by “extremists” she meant “in many cases supported by the far-right” and that the Spanish government is working on a police response: “we have mobilized more than 15,000 officers to suppress these violent actions that do not represent the sector”.
3. By way of contrast on behalf of the truckers, the best thing I have seen today is the video from an industrial estate in Seville. —"There you go, fucking politicians..!" —"Damn your dead, disgusting politicians..!" Via @SocialDrive_es
4. I am always a big fan of seeing and hearing real Spaniards and of the contrast between different levels of society and now with the truckers strike we have a great example of how ministers in their offices think the country works versus how it really does work.
5. Today, compared to Monday, there seems to be more coverage of the truckers strike in mainstream media, but I'm finding the original videos that we continue to see on social media to be much more illustrative. @SocialDrive_es is still doing a great job there.
6. Here is a video from Coslada (Madrid) showing how van drivers have joined the truckers in their transport strike. We have now seen hundreds of these individual videos, of individual moments, in some corner of Spain. @SocialDrive_es
7. Last night after asking the assistants at the shopping centre about shortages, I wondered if there was any way to measure that part nationally. It turns out that there is something called FIAB: the Spanish Federation of Food and Beverage Industries.
8. FIAB has issued two statements over the past few hours about the Spanish truckers strike, one yesterday and one today. We will look at both of them for a minute. In short: “serious problems” and “numerous incidents” of shortages across the country.
9. In a first statement yesterday, FIAB said there are “serious problems” and “numerous incidents” with particularly worrying consequences for fresh produce, due to the shelf-life problem, and for animals and slaughterhouse activity.
10. “If minimum services are not being respected and the free movement of vehicles is limited, the entire supply chain will see its productive capacity undermined”, said Mauricio García de Quevedo, general director of FIAB. Consumer activity and business operations are at risk.
11. In that first statement, FIAB yesterday asked the government for “an urgent solution to avoid shortages and the subsequent halting of activity”. Urgent. To avoid shortages. Because there are already “numerous incidents”. Just like the shop assistants told me.
12. In the SECOND statement, from today, FIAB goes further and calls for a hard line against truckers and “pickets that are acting violently and illegally”. There are “serious problems” and they are preventing “the normal functioning of the food chain”.
13. “FIAB is therefore asking that police and security forces act to guarantee the right to work of those who do not support the stoppage and that the supply of goods across the country is thus guaranteed”.
14. Three days ago, the same minister who is today talking about using 15,000 police officers against the truckers said that there would be no problems with shortages in Spain. And if the government sends the police up against the truckers, how big of a fight could they get into?
15. In terms of understanding what is really going on across Spain, between odd videos and inconsistent media coverage, the FIAB demanding “forcefulness” and the minister saying 15,000 police officers will be deployed illustrates the effect that the stoppage is really having.
16. Let's also look at the latest responses from Plataforma Nacional, which called the strike. Last night they put up a statement on their Facebook page and their leader, Manuel Hernández, has just posted another video blog about today's latest events.
17. Plataforma Nacional: “We feel absolutely scorned by the words of the minister” who is “criminalising” truckers. “Shortages will be inevitable and immediate”. They ask that the minister “not cause greater evils” with her response.
18. In this evening's new video blog, Hernández expressed his astonishment at the minister's description of Spanish truckers as “the far right”: “I don't care about the far right, the far left, the centre or the top or bottom”.
19. “Plataforma is a truckers' movement”, says Hernández: “people who live on the road and people who have problems and that you [government and unions] are turning your backs on”. He says they don't recognise the National Transport Committee as a valid negotiator.
20. “You cannot force those people on us to negotiate our welfare, our future and for them to decide how and in what way we have to work”, said Hernandez: “Do you not understand that?” “That's enough, don't keep making us out to be criminals”.
21. Hernández blamed violent infiltrators for the problems and criticised the government's “military mobilisation” to solve the issues: “Come on, we are just workers! We're not organising a coup. We have stopped work because we can't eat”.
22. The leader of Plataforma Nacional rejected the idea that shortages are a threat directed at the Government, but rather just a consequence of the reality of stopping work due to having to do so at a loss and trying to balance the monthly accounts of a self-employed trucker.
25. And not only getting ready but now already acting as well. Pedro Sánchez's socialist (PSOE) government has sent Civil Guard riot police up against striking Spanish truckers in Cáceres (Extremadura). What are they doing? Via @SocialDrive_es
26. What on earth is a socialist-communist Spanish government doing ordering Civil Guard riot police to go up against striking trucker workers? Does Pedro Sánchez think he is going to solve the problem like that or just make things work because the level of conflict increases?
27. I don't think we've seen a Spanish government mobilise so many police officers like that since the Catalan separatist crisis. The Sánchez government has gone from there will be no supply shortage problems to ordering riot police out against the truckers in three days.
29. A statement from AECOC says several bosses associations (ACES, AECOC, ANGED, ASEDAS and FIAB) have requested “urgent collaboration” from the government because the supply chain in Spain is at risk. Truckers, they say, are being “belligerent”.
30. Meanwhile, the Transport Ministry is pleased to announce it has passed the plan they had agreed on with the National Transport Committee in parliament. That is the committee the self-employed truckers say is a minority group that does not represent them at all.
31. Plataforma Nacional says they are continuing with the truckers strike in Spain: “because the government is not paying attention to thousands and thousands of trucker families, we will continue with the stoppage indefinitely”.
32. And as a final note in today's thread: there are lots of odd videos of trucks on motorways or in some port or in Mercamadrid or Mercasevilla or MercaX or some fish market or slow drives in some city, but what is happening in small towns and villages? Trucks and supermarkets.