Business & Economy

Chilean truckers strike ends after 8 days

Santiago, Nov 29 (EFE).- Striking Chilean truckers took down roadblocks Tuesday after reaching an agreement with the government and the CPC employers federation.

The pact includes a commitment by authorities to increase security on the nation’s highways, a four-month freeze on fuel prices and a mechanism to cushion the effect of future cost increases on small operators.

Chile’s undersecretary of interior, Manuel Monsalve, told reporters that the CPC committed to adjusting freight rates to compensate small and mid-sized trucking firms for increases in fuel costs.

While the CPC’s president, Juan Sutil, praised the willingness of the truckers to “allow this to return to normal for the good of all Chileans, for the provisioning of the country, so the farmers can work.”

Once the freeze on fuel prices ends, increases will be limited to 15 pesos (0.01 cents) a liter every 21 days.

And the government pledged that its 2023 budget will provide an additional $1.5 billion for the Mechanism for Stabilization of Fuel Prices.

Though the strike, which began Nov. 21, was not supported by all of the organizations representing freight haulers, the effects were felt across much of the country, leading to shortages of food and fuel in some cities.

President Gabriel Boric’s government has brought charges against 31 strike leaders under the State Security Law and 17 people have been arrested.

Chile is especially vulnerable to truckers strikes due to the absence of any alternative means of ground transportation, a result of the 1973-1990 Pinochet dictatorship’s decision to allow the rail network to fall into decay.

The strike that ended Tuesday was the second since Boric’s center-left administration took office in March.

In September 1973, a strike by truck drivers helped prepare the ground for Gen. Augusto Pinochet’s coup against elected Socialist President Salvador Allende. EFE mfm/dr

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