ASUNCION – Paraguayan truck drivers remain on strike in response to the government’s decision to allow Brazilian double-trailer trucks to ply the country’s highways.
The president of the Paraguayan Truck Drivers’ Associacion, Angel Zaracho, told EFE that 90 percent of the union’s members had agreed to participate in the strike, which is starting to affect the supply of goods shipped to Paraguay’s main cities.
“Citizens have started to notice a shortage of supplies, but we are exercising our right to protest,” said Zaracho.
The protest started Monday, sparked by the decision by the Public Works and Communications Ministry (MOPC) to allow double-trailer trucks from Brazil to circulate on the nation’s roads, but the protesters say this move will create unfair competition, as their own vehicles do not have this capacity.
The union representative said the association is optimistic about the ministry’s call to negotiate before the regulation, handed down on Jan. 17, goes into effect on Feb. 20.
In May 2016, the parties had agreed that any changes in transportation regulations would have to be approved by both groups.
The protesters said that it is not their intention to have double-trailer trucks banned in Paraguay but merely to come up with mutually beneficial measures, such as funding to adapt their vehicles to double-trailer capacity and a grace period during which to make the adjustment.