Heavy truck drivers who provide transportation services have announced that they will stop work on Tuesday, January 17, to express their opposition to the alleged irregular payment of fines.
Prensalibre.com reports that "...Rony Mendoza, director of the Union of Drivers of Heavy Transporters, said the strike will be supported by rural, teaching and indigenous organizations, therefore they expect the participation of about 35 thousand people.However, at least two of these unions refused to give their support."
The union of exporters has reported losses of $145 million, and more than 12,000 shipping containers held up because of the blockades which have now been going on for more than a week.
Reports indicate that two shipping companies have suspended operations at the ports and announced they will not disembark because of "inability to ensure the safety of their staff."This is just one example of the serious damage caused to in the country by the blockades and demonstrations held by truckers for almost a week at customs offices and ports in Guatemala.
The private sector is demanding that the government investigate the possible existence of criminal structures which may be operating in an organized manner behind the strike at some ports and customs offices.
From a statement issued by the Chamber of Agriculture in Guatemala:
A strike has been announced for October 27 and 28 unless the government meets demands regarding new rules restricting movement of cargo vehicles in the capital.
The Union of Heavy Transporters has threatened to extend the planned strike until next week if the municipality does not meet their demands regarding new schedules for circulation of heavy transport vehicles in Guatemala City.
Guatemala carriers have blocked passage through customs posts at Pedro de Alvarado, Jutiapa, in protest against the excessive slowness of procedures for entering El Salvador.
The slowness of customs formalities as a result of the computer system crash caused some 300 carriers to form a blockade using their trucks from Sunday February 28th on the route to the customs office in Ciudad Pedro de Alvarado, located in Moyuta, in the Guatemalan department of Jutiapa, on the border with El Salvador.
The Government and the union agreed to meet in the coming days to resolve complaints made by the industry, which resulted in two days of strikes and business losses of at least $10 million.
The blockade by truckers on the border between Costa Rica and Panama, organized by the National Chamber of Cargo Transportation (Canacarga) and the Truckers Union of Chiriqui (Sicachi), was suspended on the night of February 16, after a party from the Government of Panama went from the capital to the province of Chiriqui.
A strike has been announced in the next few days unless the government meets demands related to the problems faced in customs offices and compliance with traffic rules.
Spokespeople for the Transport Association in Nicaragua (ATN) said the strike is in protest against the bureaucratic obstacles faced in customs offices, arrests by the police in different points along the routes and the increase in the fines.
The union has exhausted dialogue with the regional government of Chiriqui and is a blockading the border preventing the movement of freight carriers in Central America.
The provincial government in Chiriqui has failed to prevent Panamanian carriers, organized by the National Chamber of Cargo Transportation in Panama, (Canatraca) from indefinitely blocking the passage of trucks across the border in Paso Canoas (information at time of going to press at 3:30 p.m).
National transporters announced that they will go on strike on February 15 in order to assert pressure because of the outsourcing of cargo from the CFZ to international companies.
The National Chamber of Cargo Transportation is preparing a strike in conjunction with the Truck Drivers Syndicate of Chiriqui, which on several occasions has expressed its disagreement with the outsourcing of cargo services in the Colon Free Zone.
Less than 24 hours after it started union leaders signed an agreement with the Solis administration to end the strike that had paralyzed ports and the sale of fuels.
The strike called by major unions in the country lasted less than 24 hours and did not achieved the "historic" call aimed for by the organizers, who negotiated an end to the strike with the government around midnight on October 26.
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