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Spain offers discounts on fuel and aid to end the transport strike

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MADRID, March 25 (Reuters) – The Spanish government on Friday offered the transport sector a discount on fuel prices and aid in the form of a lump sum cash payment, in a move to end a strike that has caused shortages. of some products and has forced companies to reduce production.

The package of measures – a bonus of 0.20 euros ($0.22) per liter of fuel and an aid of 1,250 euros – will cost Spain’s public arcades and 1,000 million euros, the Spanish minister of Transport, Raquel Sanchez, after negotiations that lasted until Thursday night.

“We have always been aware of the difficulties faced by both carriers and other economic sectors hit hard by the energy crisis that Russia’s aggression against Ukraine has intensified,” he said on Friday.

The discount on the price of fuel, of which a quarter will be paid by the oil companies, will also be used for other companies dedicated to transportation, added the minister. Drivers of buses, vans and light vehicles (ambulances, taxis and tourist vehicles with drivers or VTC) will also receive minor aid.

The strike began on March 14, when a group of members of the transport sector and small truck owners obtained a blockade of roads and ports throughout the country in response to rising costs, aggravated by the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Three transport associations came together after the Spanish government on Monday proposed a 500 million euro aid package that drivers were quick to dismiss as insufficient.

Taxi drivers have stopped working in some parts of the country and the national fishing fleet has also temporarily halted operations.

The Spanish CEOE employers complained on Wednesday about the slowness of the Spanish government compared to its neighbors France and Portugal.

The commerce sector has instructed consumers not to make panic purchases and has stressed that the food supply is guaranteed, although there are shortages of some products.

One of the main lorry operators’ associations backed the Spanish government’s measures, although it is unclear whether the truckers from the independent protest group will agree to return to work despite Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez’s call to end the strike. .

(Reporting by Nathan Allen, Belén Carreño and Inti Landauro, editing by Angus MacSwan; translation by Darío Fernández)

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