Spain grinds to a halt

Buying oranges online none the less, today is the day when supermarkets will start to run out of food as the strike bites deeper into the economy, warn local experts. With many petrol stations already dry, local press stuck their oar in by urging us all to keep calm by publishing guides on “how to store petrol in your basement” and “where to panic buy the last few drops of water & gas”.

Comienza la huelga a la medianoche

First blood was spilled yesterday as a striker was run over in Granada, and again in Portugal. And overnight a lorry driver asleep in his van suffered severe burns when his lorry was set alight, apparantly in protest at his strike breaking. Those of you who like such things can see a video of the remains of the chap who was run over online at El País, not for the faint of heart. This apparantly put a dampner on negotiations last night, as a number of delegates walked out until the matter had been resolved.

Meanwhile, central government have put together an offer of 54 points to the strikers, who are currently considering it. It does not, according to a government spokesperson, include some of their central demands, such as a cap on diesel costs for lorries and minimum transport prices. At least two of the largest transport unions have not yet started to consider the deal.

Locally, a number of pickets were setup in Almeria, but most people seem to have decided to bunk off and go to the beach. Carboneras port was blockaded for a while, but according to an eye witness it was all in good fun. Petrol stations along the coast are dry, and Super Turre was almost out of meat yesterday. I know of at least one delivery chap from Huercal de Almeria who was told that if his lorry went out on deliveries they’d “slash his tires”, which seems harsh. Motorways around the capital cities are intermittently being blocked by convoys of bored lorry drivers, so watch out for those. Catalunia was shipping petrol out by it’s own fleet of government lorries, to keep the traffic moving.

How long is this going to go on? Remember that it’s not just Spain, it’s also Portugal, France, Italy and parts of the UK… French administration on strike as from today, including trains! If one of these groups gets a good deal from their government, then everybody else goes back to the strike. Personally, I’m checking the tire pressure of my bike as soon as I finish this.

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