Joan Collins
TRANSPORT bosses in the goods and coach sectors, and the unions have ruled out calling a strike to protest about the driving licence points system, which came in to force on July 1. Some days ago the Balearic transport sector threatened to strike and block the ports indefinitely if the Traffic Department rigorously applied the penalties expected under the new points system. Under the new system, if a driver exceeds the legal maximum of 9 hours driving per day they can be penalised with a fine of 6'000 to 8'000 euros and six points will be taken off their licence. Antonio Losada, secretary general of the Transport Federation within the CCOO union said that, “for our part, our union will not mobilise the workers for a strike because we understand that there will be flexibility in this system”. Pedro Berruezo, secretary general of the Transport Federation of the UGT union, is of the same opinion.
He said “we have ruled out the possibility of calling a strike, we will have to see how the application of the law develops”.
The Transport Federation of the CAEB (Confederation of Business Associations) also discounted the possibility of a strike.
Jaume Batle, its President, explained, “we have had a meeting with the council and the unions about this matter and we have come to the conclusion that we will have to see how it goes”.
More than nine hours daily
“The problem is that if you drive for less than 11 hours a day, there are more expenses than benefits and we have families to keep”, explained a goods driver, adding that his normal working day is up to 11 hours.
This fact is recognised by both the bosses and the unions.
Pedro Berruezo said, “when we negotiate collective deals we always try to improve the salaries of transport drivers, both goods drivers and coach drivers, but the plain fact of the matter is that a driver in the Balearics is paid less than a driver in Extremadura and if they want to have a decent standard of living or buy a house, which costs three times more, there is no other solution for them but to work extra hours”.
The bosses express the same opinion, recognising that, especially in the goods sector, the drivers do quite a few extra hours.
Since the points system was introduced, the only region in Spain where the death toll has not fallen is the Balearics. Although there has been a reduction in the number of accidents and traffic police chiefs are very pleased with the positive results of the new system which uses state-of-the-art technology so drivers are docked points on the spot.

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