As the strike by lorry owners in Chile entered its 22nd. day without any signs?
As the strike by lorry owners in Chile entered its 22nd. day without any signs of a settlement, there were threats of the strike spreading to other sectors of the economy.
The lorry owners are demanding the dismissal of Transport Under-Secretary Jaime Faivovich whom, they claim acted illegally in trying to requisition their lorries. The original cause of the strike was demands that restrictions on the import of spare parts be lifted.
The threat of the strike spreading came from the President of the Road Transport Confederation who urged all business and professional people to act in solidarity with the striking lorry owners. First response to the appeal came from the private bus owners who pulled their vehicles off the roads, leaving only a small fleet of state-owned lorries and buses operating.
Just outside Santiago, at a servicing area called El Monte, armed police keep the lorry owners apart from their vehicles. Last Friday (10 August) they unsuccessfully tried to requisition the lorries but the owners resisted. Now the lorries stand surrounded -- both by the owners and the armed police -- with both sides trying to ensure that neither make use of the lorries.
In other parts of Chile lorry owners have also brought their vehicles together into guarded compounds. Meanwhile the Military Commissioners a appointed in Chile's 24 provinces stand ready to requisition the vehicles a should Dr. Allende's Government five the order.
SYNOPSIS: The strike is already hitting the Chilean economy. Despite the absence of commercial lorries on the road, petrol has been one of the first commodities to fall into short supply. Almost half of Chile's industry is now operating at only 20 per cent of normal production.
The Government has other problems to face. As Dr. Allend was broadcasting on television last Tuesday this pylon was blown-up -- plunging Santiago into darkness. Members of the extreme right wing group Patria y Liberated are suspected of being responsible.