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  HOME | Brazil (Click here for more)

Brazil Truckersí Strike in 8th Day despite Temerís Concessions

RIO DE JANEIRO Ė The truckersí strike that has paralyzed Brazil and caused shortages of food, fuel and even hospital supplies is in its eighth day on Monday despite concessions announced on the weekend by President Michel Temer.

Many of the nationís truckers are keeping their vehicles parked on highways on Monday and partially blocking important roads despite the fact that union negotiators said on Sunday night that they would recommend an end to the strike after Temer announced new concessions.

The Federal Highway Police said the protests were continuing on Monday morning in at least 22 of Brazilís 27 states, and although significantly fewer road blockades remain than during the first few days of the strike chaos still reigns around the country.

The blockades were already markedly reduced by last Thursday, when the government authorized the mobilization of the military to clear the roads.

In many of Brazilís biggest cities, gas stations were still without fuel, markets have not received shipments of foodstuffs, hospitals are operating on an emergency supply basis and universities and schools announced that they will close their doors starting Monday until further notice.

According to the Airport Administration Company, eight of the countryís largest airports were without fuel, although no flights have been suspended yet.

Fuel supply operations have not gotten back to normal, despite the fact that on Saturday loaded tanker trucks were leaving refineries under military escort.

Without fuel for the buses, public transportation fleets are operating under severe restrictions in almost all cities, with service reduced by 70 percent in Sao Luis and by 30 percent in Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro.

The government, however, says it expects the situation to begin getting normalizing on Monday after the agreement signed Sunday night with truckersí representatives.

According to government spokespeople, the truckers are still awaiting word from their leaders before lifting the strike.

Temer, in a statement on Sunday night on national radio and television, said that among the concessions granted by the government was a reduction in diesel fuel prices of 0.46 reais per liter (about $0.49 per gallon) for the next 60 days.

The government will eliminate one of the taxes on fuel to achieve the reduction and the total price cut will amount to almost 20 percent.

In addition, the government agreed to exempt truckers from tolls when they are traveling empty.

The total cost to the government of the fuel subsidy will be some 9.5 billion reais (about $2.64 billion).

 

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