Spanish Transport Ministry slams "blackmail, intimidation and threats" from "far-right" "radicalised" truckers

Analysis: Truckers' leader Hernández vows to continue the strike "until the end" and calls for a mass protest on Monday morning across the country.
By Matthew Bennett
Mar 19, 2022, 10:25 am


1. Let's do another thread today on the truckers strike. Yesterday I was out recording the images. Spain is now faced with a complex national systemic situation, with perceptions differing according to each person's perspective in society. Link

Published: Mar 19, 2022, 10:25 am | On Twitter

2. The Transport Ministry message is that Plataforma Nacional and the striking self-employed truckers are relatively few in number but the impression social media videos give, and when you see this in real life, is there are lots of them all over Spain. Link

Published: Mar 19, 2022, 10:39 am | On Twitter

3. I will also try to jot down some notes for an analysis article tomorrow Sunday, after this week's reporting and conversations. There is a problem between the government and the truckers but also between Plataforma Nacional and the National Transport Committee.

Published: Mar 19, 2022, 10:43 am | On Twitter

4. Spain's Transport Ministry says it will meet on Monday with truckers but with the National Transport Committee, not with Plataforma Nacional. According to information I have received, the Ministry does NOT intend to speak directly to Plataforma Nacional at any time.

Published: Mar 19, 2022, 10:48 am | On Twitter

5. While the Ministry makes up plans to talk to the National Committee, videos keep arriving of truckers striking across Spain. This one is from Antequera (Andalusia) yesterday. “All stuck” says the driver: “trucks here overflowing”. And you can see that. Link

Published: Mar 19, 2022, 11:51 am | On Twitter

6. @superdras_tia sends us this from Lugo (Galicia). Another trucker who expresses himself well: “Here I am, surrounded by criminals, you see? All of them. Look how aggressive they are. These were the lads who moved all the toilet paper in the pandemic”. Link

Published: Mar 19, 2022, 12:03 pm | On Twitter

7. “We put diesel in our tractors too. At this price, it is impossible to sow. Let's be very clear to you: if we don't sow now, we don't harvest in the summer, and in October you are not eating bread. No eating bread or drinking milk or potatoes or vegetables or anything at all.”

Published: Mar 19, 2022, 12:08 pm | On Twitter

8. “What do they have to do, a sit-in like the 15-M down there in Madrid? To see if they make a big fuss in the capital, this government will pay attention to these villagers?”. Real Spain expresses itself very well, I think.

Published: Mar 19, 2022, 12:20 pm | On Twitter

9. I have also received a list of talking points being used by the Transport Ministry. We shall look at the government's position in a minute. First let's see the latest statements from Hernández and Plataforma Nacional. The situation has certainly evolved in just five days.

Published: Mar 19, 2022, 12:38 pm | On Twitter

10. In a statement last night, Plataforma Nacional announced a major call for a truck protest— “in every province” of Spain—on Monday morning. “We will remain undefeated in our struggle”. They call on “all citizens” to stand in solidarity with them. Link

Published: Mar 19, 2022, 12:44 pm | On Twitter

11. In his latest video blog, last night, Hernández (Plataforma Nacional) congratulated striking Spanish truckers for their efforts this week: “it turns out that we have a government that doesn't know what it is talking about”. Link

Published: Mar 19, 2022, 1:57 pm | On Twitter

12. @SocialDrive_es continues to gather trucker videos from all across Spain too. Here's one from Oviedo (Asturias), they say. Loads of lorries, as in so many other videos from so many other corners of Spain this week. Link

Published: Mar 19, 2022, 2:01 pm | On Twitter

13. There is a risk for the Sánchez government that this protest picks up huge social support. There are many trucker families and towns across Spain, and many other sectors with fuel price or electricity price problems. Via @SocialDrive_es Link

Published: Mar 19, 2022, 2:08 pm | On Twitter

14. “The only thing they've managed to do”, Hernández says in his video blog: “is to put 24,000 police officers out, as if we were criminals”. He rejects negotiation between the government and the National Transport Committee: “That is not going to work under any circumstances”.

Published: Mar 19, 2022, 2:13 pm | On Twitter

15. Hernández says Plataforma will continue “until the end”, “we are in a historic moment”. “We are at a point where the shortages are evident. They are trying to hide it but it's obvious”. “Now the effect of this stoppage is clear to see”.

Published: Mar 19, 2022, 2:17 pm | On Twitter

16. Hernández describes the Minister's “contempt” towards “the working class” for her attempt to minimise the effects or number of truckers striking across Spain: “We are not going to allow it [...] You must apologise. Far-right, violent, boycott.”

Published: Mar 19, 2022, 2:20 pm | On Twitter

17. Hernández: “This is the end of the abuse, the end of spitting in our faces, of being humiliated. No, no, not at all. Now we are the ones who are going to lay down the conditions [...] Nobody will move here until this gets fixed”.

Published: Mar 19, 2022, 2:30 pm | On Twitter

18. FIAB, Spain's food and beverage federation, says in a new statement that the truckers strike is causing 600 million euros in losses and threatening 100,000 jobs: “it is wreaking havoc in the fresh produce sectors”. Link

Published: Mar 19, 2022, 2:37 pm | On Twitter

19. FIAB: “Ports and fish markets are also seeing serious operational difficulties. Just today in the port of Celeiro (Lugo, Galicia), there are 140 tons of fish that will go bad if they can't be delivered”.

Published: Mar 19, 2022, 2:40 pm | On Twitter

20. The Objective reports Sánchez has cancelled his trip to a PSOE meeting in Asturias today over fears of a truckers protest meeting him on arrival in that northern Spanish region, after the Transport Minister was booed. Link

Published: Mar 19, 2022, 2:58 pm | On Twitter

21. Let's look at the talking points I have been sent from inside Transport Ministry. They are “sensitive to the situation in the sector” but below there are several heavily critical adjectives for truckers: “blackmail”, “intimidation”, “threats”, “far-right”, “radicalised”.

Published: Mar 19, 2022, 5:43 pm | On Twitter

22. Look at the language and frames in the Transport Ministry talking points: sensitive to the situation of the SECTOR but will only listen to demands of LEGITIMATE REPRESENTATIVES. Open to measures but only from the NATIONAL TRANSPORT COMMITTEE, not the striking truckers.

Published: Mar 19, 2022, 5:49 pm | On Twitter

23. Spanish Transport Ministry wants to “put a stop” to truckers strike “forcefully” with 23,500 police officers because “we cannot allow” what they are doing with “blackmail, intimidation and threats” and “encouraged by the far right”. It is “a massive irresponsibility”.

Published: Mar 19, 2022, 5:54 pm | On Twitter

24. Transport Ministry says the “RADICALISED” striking truckers we are seeing in all the videos “are physically, verbally and with a clear threatening attitude ATTACKING” other truckers and “putting [...] the normal functioning of the country's productive fabric in jeopardy”.

Published: Mar 19, 2022, 5:59 pm | On Twitter

25. Government says the stoppage is not a strike: “this is VIOLENT MOBILISATIONS. This is CRIMES AND ASSAULTS against citizens”. The “RADICALS” have no right to strike, “a VIOLENT MINORITY challenges the country”. “There is no room for the violent”. “We're going to be forceful".

Published: Mar 19, 2022, 6:06 pm | On Twitter

26. Also note on that point that the Transport Ministry is admitting that there is or that there is a danger of INTERRUPTING SUPPLY CHAINS and of a SERIOUS DISRUPTION to the national economic activity of Spain.

Published: Mar 19, 2022, 6:09 pm | On Twitter

27. Transport Ministry talking points rail against “radicalised” and “violent” truckers and also criticise Plataforma Nacional: the government is with the National Committee, already agreement there, and Plataforma did not join Committee at recent renewal opportunity.

Published: Mar 19, 2022, 6:14 pm | On Twitter

28. The ministry's talking points conclude by stating that the National Transport Committee “represents... all associations of the road freight transport sector” in Spain. Yesterday, I was told that the government is not planning to negotiate with Plataforma Nacional at all.

Published: Mar 19, 2022, 6:18 pm | On Twitter

29. The link at the end of the Transport Ministry talking points leads to the following table on the composition of the freight transport sector in Spain. Link

Published: Mar 19, 2022, 6:20 pm | On Twitter

30. We will do an analysis tomorrow but at first glance such a blunt (socialist-communist) government position seems to me a mistake with everything we are seeing on the roads, the fish markets, the ports, the food wholesalers and the industrial estates of Spain.

Published: Mar 19, 2022, 6:26 pm | On Twitter

31. Taxi drivers in Cartagena will join the truckers protest on Monday, their chairman, Jose Ramón Martínez Calderón, confirms to me by telephone. That's 201 vehicles from Cartagena and La Manga. The Government feared yesterday the stoppage would spread to other sectors.

Published: Mar 19, 2022, 9:42 pm | On Twitter

32. In a new statement on their Facebook page, Plataforma Nacional encourages people to organise “get togethers” with family and neighbors tomorrow Sunday at 8 p.m.: “we are ordinary working people, with family and friends”. Link

Published: Mar 19, 2022, 9:46 pm | On Twitter

33. The general secretary of @jucilnacional, a Civil Guard association, notes “extraordinary concern” over greater police force being used against truckers. The Civil Guard has been ordered to say “stoppage” rather than “strike” and “activists” instead of “pickets”.

Published: Mar 19, 2022, 9:59 pm | On Twitter

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