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June 17, 2008

Spanish Truck Strike Over

Three truck unions in Spain have decided to abandon their strike. The strike was beginning to disrupt supplies to factories and markets. Fenadismer, Confedetrans and Antid, the three unions that have been on strike since June 9th, said they did not want to harm the sector anymore than it already was.

The self employed truckers started the strike because of high fuel prices. As self employed truckers they are responsible for keeping their rigs fueled with their own money. Buying gas was, and will continue to put a huge dent in the pocket of any truckers, making it counteractive to take on any work.

The government and the unions that were not striking came to an agreement a few days ago to help with fuel prices. However, the main objective of the strike, guaranteed minimum rates for their services, was not addressed in the agreement. The three unions that were striking saw the agreement as a temporary fix that really did not help their cause.

There have been a number of protests around Europe in response to very high gas prices. While prices in North America are higher than usual, Europe has long paid much more for gas. Most Europeans would gladly take the four dollar plus rates per gallon that we have here.

The only problem with striking over gas prices is that the strikes tend to punish the people that have no control over gas prices, the consumer. If you are just an average everyday person there is no way you can do anything about gas prices. However, it will be that average person that suffers from not having the necessities that the trucks deliver. Government officials will be well fed and they are the ones that the strike is meant to be aimed at. This is something hat should be taken into consideration when starting up a strike. Who really suffers from a strike? Rarely the people that are causing or have control over the troubles that are being protested.

Fuel prices have risen 36 percent in the past year in Spain. This is a massive increase without any type of raise in wages. If gas has gone of that much then truckers are making 36 percent less money than they were a year ago. This can not be going over well with their budgets.

There were several riots and truckers blocked the border with France. The police had to be called in for some situations to clear highways. The anger over fuel prices is boiling over in Spain. Other countries are sure to follow since fuel prices are high in most cases. Governments around the world are going to have to find a way to soothe the outrage over fuel prices everywhere.

I know that gas prices are unbearable in Europe but I don’t know exactly what it is that governments can do about it. Strategies to cut down on the cost of gas are probably going to lead to some other type of increase. Right now the fuel situation is just plain bad. I don’t think that anyone can really do anything significant about it.

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