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Truckers' strike to continue in Spain despite government support package

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By Euronews  with AP, AFP
Self-employed truckers say they will continue their 12-day strike.
Self-employed truckers say they will continue their 12-day strike.   -   Copyright  AP Photo/Manu Fernandez

Spain's government has unveiled a €1 billion plan to reduce fuel prices amid an unprecedented strike by lorry drivers.

Self-employed truckers said on Friday they would continue a 12-day strike despite reaching an agreement on financial support.

Dozens of tractors drove slowly towards the Spanish capital, Madrid, to protest against the “brutal increase” in fuel prices, as well as the low revenue of farm produce.

The Madrid region farmers also complained that the price of fertiliser -- much of which has previously arrived from Ukraine -- has climbed around 300%.

After 12 hours of negotiations, Spain’s Socialist-led government announced that it would discount €0.20 per litre of gas for lorries as part of the package of measures.

Spanish Transport Minister Raquel Sánchez said the "historic" agreement would save around €700 a month per vehicle.

The government said it would also provide €450 million euros in direct financial aid to road haulage businesses, as well as special credit terms.

But the Platform for the Defence of the Road Transport Sector has called on its members to continue their strike and to attend Friday’s street protest in Madrid.

The group is not affiliated with Spain’s larger national trucking associations or road haulage companies and did not enter negotiations with the Spanish government.

Activists said it would not budge from its wider demands, which include forcing down the prices for freight and better working conditions for truckers.

“After 12 days, we’re not going to throw in the towel. It’s now or never,” the Platform said on its Facebook page.

The truckers’ strike has disrupted supply chains across Spain and brought scattered shortages of fresh products such as vegetables, milk and fish.