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Brazilian Truckers Call Off Strike After government Assures To Accept Demands

24 Apr 2019 5:15 pm
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MUMBAI (Commoditiescontrol) - One of Brazil’s big trucking unions, CNTA, said its members were unlikely to strike on 29 April as threatened, after Infrastructure Minister Tarcisio de Freitas promised that minimum freight rates would be adjusted to account for higher diesel prices.

Freitas, who President Jair Bolsonaro sent to the Amazon earlier this year to oversee repairs of Brazil’s most important soybean highway that was washed out by rains, met with CNTA President Diumar Bueno and leaders of other groups representing truckers late Tuesday to defuse a strike planned for 29 April.

The truckers, who surprised former President Michel Temer in May 2018 with an 11-day strike that crippled food and fuel supplies across the nation, have been increasingly vocal in over the rising price of diesel and lack enforcement of the minimum freight rate law.

"The truckers are concerned, mainly about the lack of definition over the minimum freight rates and constant fluctuations in the price of diesel. We needed to hear a coherent response from the government over what is a real problem," Bueno said, adding that it was unlikely that truckers would go through with a strike on 29 April.

Bueno said Freitas had assured him and the other truckers present that the minimum freight rates law would be enforced and keep pace with quickly moving diesel prices.

Freitas also promised to consider the elimination of certain fines against truckers and the construction of more rest stops and infrastructure on the country’s most important federal highways.

Although wholesale diesel prices fell sharply in October and November last year and were largely stable in December and January, prices shot up nearly 11% in February and again in March, only to rise another 5.6% in April so far, while minimum freight rates were held unchanged.

The highway regulator ANTT has not adjusted the minimum rates in recent months, although it technically should every time the price of diesel fluctuates more than 10% from its previous adjustment.

ANTT officials have been holding public hearings over application of the regulations governing the rates, but Freitas promised they would be adjusted and enforced by Monday, the same day on which the strike was planned.

(By Commoditiescontrol Bureau)

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