Oct 26, 2021

Brazil's Independent Truckers Threating Another Strike

Author: Michael Cordonnier/Soybean & Corn Advisor, Inc.

Independent truckers in Brazil are upset about rising diesel prices and they are threatening a nationwide strike on November 1st if the government does not address their concerns. Last week, President Bolsonaro promised the 750,000 independent drivers that he will help lower fuel prices, but he did not give any specifics. He blamed the higher diesel prices, which have increased 50% since the start of the year, on international oil prices and on efforts to control Covid-19.

One possible aid to drivers would be to lower the ICMS (circulation tax) tax on diesel fuel from 15% to 12%, but that would probably not be enough to satisfy the drivers.

Localized labor unrest already started to pop up late last week when drivers of tanker trucks that deliver gasoline blocked the entrance to a distribution center in the state of Rio de Janeiro. In the state of Minas Gerais, there was also a work stoppage last week by tanker drivers which left some gas stations in the city of Belo Horizonte without gasoline.

Three national organizations representing transportation workers are coordinating the potential nationwide strike for November 1st, which is only a week away. These local work stoppages will probably increase as a way to build pressure on the government to take significant action on lowering diesel prices.

The president and his administration has promised action because they do not want a repeat of the 2018 nationwide truck driver strike that crippled the Brazilian economy in a matter of days and cost the Brazilian economy billions of dollars.