Spain: “Violent pickets hamper Heineken Spain’s business operations”

A nationwide strike of Spanish truck drivers has forced many companies including breweries to announce a shutdown in production. The strike, launched on March 14 to protest high fuel costs and the drivers’ working conditions, has interrupted the companies’ logistic chains for raw materials and finished products and has already led to the cessation of production in a number of companies.

“If the situation continues like this, the brewery will not be able to supply its products to shopping centers, bars, and restaurants. Nor will we be able to stock up on raw materials because of the violent pickets that hamper Heineken Spain’s normal business operations,” Heineken España said today. The brewer has four factories in Seville, Madrid, Valencia, and Jaén with more than 1,500 employees that produce about 10 million hectoliters per year.

Privately owned  Spanish brewer Hijos de Rivera, better known under its brand name Estrella Galicia, has similar problems.  The brewery that ranks fourth in the Spanish market told Europa Press last week that the situation for the company's activities was "very serious". "In addition, the stock of products in some logistics centers is at the limit, the loaded trucks are stopped without being able to circulate or deliver, and most of the distribution is affected, even export has been completely suspended." On Monday, the Civil Guard had to escort 18 Estrella Galicia trucks from Zamora to the plant in A Coruña.

Multinational food producer Danone that employs 2,000 workers in Spain has warned yesterday that within a maximum period of 24 hours it may be "forced to temporarily interrupt its activity" in its four plants in Spain for dairy products and in the three for natural mineral water. “If an agreement is not reached in the next few hours, Danone will be forced to make the drastic decision to interrupt the milk collection process, and as a consequence, the production process in its factories and the subsequent transfer of the finished product to the food distribution chains”, Danone announced.

The tense supply situation has already left many supermarket shelves in Spain empty and the damage to the economy is not yet foreseeable.

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez, whose government is working on a package of measures to respond to the economic problems caused by the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, today said he was confident his government would reach an agreement with striking truck drivers to end the ongoing transport strike this week. Already on Monday, the government agreed on an aid package of 500 million euros (USD 551m) for the transport sector with the National Committee for Road Transport, which represents around 80 percent of the companies in the sector.

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