Madrid, Mar 17 (EFE).- The Spanish government on Friday deployed security forces in response to a strike by truck drivers that is disrupting supply chains, causing road closures and paralyzing key sectors, including the agri-food industry.
Almost 23,600 police and civil guards have been deployed on the fifth day of the open-ended strike.
The Minister of Transport, Mobility and Urban Agenda, Raquel Sánchez said she would “not sit down with a group of radicals that are using violence” and that the National Road Transport Committee (CNTC) is the only legitimate mediator.
The truckers, who launched the strike Monday, have rejected connections to far-right movements and say the group is “resoundingly apolitical.”
The union’s president, Manuel Hernández, accused the government of “discrediting the grassroots organization with manipulation and ideological labels.”
The president added that outsiders had infiltrated the group and had used violence to disrupt the sector and the unity of its workers.
The Spanish Confederation of Goods Transport (CETM) has requested more government support to guarantee supplies for the duration of the strike.
CETM called for greater security on the roads as well as the protection of companies and freelancers who want to continue working but cannot due to violent acts and threats from pickets, the organization said in a statement.
The strike has ground some sectors to halt and supermarket shelves are already short of milk and dairy products.
The general director of the Spanish Association of Distributors and Supermarkets (Asedas), Ignacio García Magarzo, said there was no reason to have supply problems in a chain that has proven its effectiveness in very difficult circumstances.
The Alliance for a Competitive Spanish Industry has requested the “urgent” intervention of the Ministry of the Interior to guarantee the free movement of goods. EFE