Truck strike in Chile disrupts salmon supply chain
Truckers in Chile – a vital link in the salmon industry’s supply chain – have gone on strike to protest the slow progress the nation’s congress has made in improving safety laws.
The strike is being led by the National Confederation of Chilean Cargo Transport (CNTC), one of three umbrella unions for Chile’s truckers, according to Reuters. Another union, the National Federation of Truck Owners, is not participating in the strike but said it supports the CNTC’s calls for better security for truck drivers.
Chile’s truck drivers – especially those operating in Chile’s south, where much of the country’s salmon sector is concentrated – have been dealing with an upsurge of attacks, including theft of their vehicles and cargoes, some of which have included violence. There has also been a recent upswell in activism from members of Chile’s Mapuche indigenous group, who are protesting widespread development in areas where they claim historical rights.
A nine-year old girl riding in her father’s cement truck was shot and hospitalized on Saturday, 22 August, stoking already inflamed tensions, Reuters reported. In response, truckers on Thursday blocked a main highway connecting Santiago and Valparaiso, and other roads important for trade, including trucks carrying salmon to Santiago for export.
Jose Villagran, the head of the National Federation of Truck Owners, said the strikes were the result of the government not responding to the concerns of truckers who are concerned for their safety.
“Supply trucks will not be able to get through because we are here, until the government resolves this issue,” he said. “We are asking for security not just for truck drivers but for all Chileans. We are frightened.”
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