Spanish truckers join int'l fuel strikes

Truckers block a highway in the Netherlands to protest the rising cost of fuel.


Renita Jablonski: Fuel protests around the world continue this week. A truckers' strike in Spain is in its fourth day. As you may have heard, a striker died Tuesday when a van drove through a picket line. In Portugal, a protester was killed in a similar incident.

Danny Wood joins us now with more from Madrid. We're hearing reports that, Danny, today a Volvo plant, and an Audi plant in Belgium, can't operate because of what's happening in Spain.

Danny Wood: Yes, that's right. I mean, this strike is affecting the economy on quite a wide scale. Car parts aren't being delivered to car factories in Spain as well as in Belgium. Two big car parts-employing several thousand people have simply shut down because they're not getting the parts. But on a very fundamental consumer level, food simply isn't getting into the main warehouses that receive food for the big cities, so in Madrid we've seen the supermarket shelves in many supermarkets empty completely.

Jablonski: We've been hearing about similar strikes around the world. Do you get a sense that what's happening in Spain is sort of giving the other protests fuel, so to speak?

Wood: Yes, you could say that. There's certainly an international resonance to these strikes. They in fact started in France about a month ago, with fisherman complaining about the cost of their fuel. That fisherman's strike, which blocked off ports in France, spread to Spain, then became a truck drivers' strike here in Spain, which is supported in Portugal, in Italy, in France, and now there are noises of a possible smaller-scale strike in the United Kingdom.

Jablonski: What's going to bring this to an end?

Wood: Well at the moment, there's really no sign of that. The government here in Spain has pledged to talk with the European Union about solving this fuel crisis and making this easier for the truck drivers, but really we're not getting any sort of concrete idea of those sorts of solutions yet.

Jablonski: Danny Wood is a journalist based in Madrid. Thanks so much.

Wood: Pleasure.


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