Languages
Page last updated at 17:58 GMT, Thursday, 12 June 2008 18:58 UK

Spain's PM warns striking drivers

Police escort lorries on highway in northern Spain - 12/6/2008
Most of Spain's lorry drivers have reached a deal with the government

Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero has promised "zero tolerance" of violence or other disruptions by striking lorry drivers.

A driver breaking the strike over rising fuel prices was badly burnt when his lorry was set on fire.

The government has reached agreement with most of Spain's hauliers on relief from rising fuel prices but about 12% are continuing a fourth day of strikes.

Spanish police have escorted thousands of lorries to their destinations.

On late Wednesday police removed protesters from two border crossings with France and cleared drivers' blockades from main roads.

"The situation is normal on all roads," the interior ministry said.

Spanish police have arrested 71 lorry drivers since the strike began Monday.

In Portugal, lorry drivers agreed to lift their road blocks after their union reached a deal with the government over assistance with rising fuel prices.

Rate demand

Spain's measures, agreed with unions representing 88% of Spain's lorry drivers, envisage tax relief and emergency credit among other things.

EUROPEAN FUEL PROTESTS
Belgium: Fishermen clash with police at protest near EU on 4 June
Bulgaria: 150 lorry drivers form convoy outside Sofia on 28 May
France: Lorries and taxis block motorway in Paris on 3 May in support of strike by fishermen
Italy: Fishermen on both coasts begin strike on 30 May
Portugal: Portuguese fishermen stay in port on 30 May
Spain: Spanish fleet begins strike on 30 May. Madrid fishermen hand out 20 tonnes of free fish to public
UK: Truck drivers block London roads on 28 May. Fishermen hold mass protest in capital on 3 June

Hauliers' unions had called off negotiations with the government after a lorry driver was run over and killed on Tuesday while manning a picket line in Granada.

Drivers continuing the strike want a minimum price for their services to prevent firms from being undercut.

The government has refused this, saying it would interfere with competition and contravene European Union regulations.

"Those 12% can work or not work..." said Interior Minister Alfredo Perez Rubalcaba.

"But what they cannot do is prevent the rest from working."

More than 6,000 trucks have been given escorts to deliver food, fuel and other supplies to markets and distribution centres, the interior ministry said.

There have been shortages at Madrid's main produce markets and several car factories are reported to be idle because parts have not been delivered.

Prime Minister Zapatero urged the remaining strikers to "join in the task of acting responsibly" and promised tough action if their protests turn violent.

"The government is going to have zero tolerance for any act of intimidation or violence," he said.

In Portugal, the government granted the strikers tax relief and reduced motorway tolls for lorry drivers.

Protesters were asking for a special diesel rate and the levelling-out of fuel prices with neighbouring Spain, where diesel is cheaper.

A representative of the Portuguese strikers said all blockades were being lifted and all lorries would be able to move with no problems.

Oil prices have risen by about 40% since the beginning of the year to hit a record high of more than $139 (71.5) per barrel last week.


Have you been affected by the Spanish hauliers' strike? Are you a haulier taking part in the strike? Send your comments using the form below, or text 61124 (UK) +44 7624 800 100 (Int):

You can send your pictures and moving footage to yourpics@bbc.co.uk or text them to 07725 100 100 or short code 61124

When taking photos or filming please do not endanger yourself or others, take unnecessary risks or infringe any laws.

Name
Your E-mail address
Town & Country
Phone number (optional):
Comments

The BBC may edit your comments and not all emails will be published. Your comments may be published on any BBC media worldwide.






FEATURES, VIEWS, ANALYSIS
Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit

BBC navigation

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific