Government, feared truckers square off on planned strike
Santo Domingo.- The head of Dominican Republic’s most powerful truckers union Thursday reiterated the freight strike for May 8 and 9 and warned that they won’t bow to the Central Electoral Board’s (JCE) “blackmail,” in reference to yesterday’s announcement that it would resort to military transport if the walkout materializes.
Fenatrado truckers’ union president Blas Peralta denied the strike would affect the May 20 elections as some sectors claim, and noted instead that it’s to demand payment of the more than RD$300 million he affirms the Government owes them.
He said Fenatrado’s trucks will give priority to the JCE’s freight as he says they’ve done for decades, because it’s a “patriotic commitment with the democracy.”
“The strike we’re planning for May 8 and 9 is in no way going to affect the electoral process. That’s a blackmail that we’re not going to accept,” the unionist said via telephone in a radio program.
On Wednesday JCE president Robert Rosario warned Fenatrado that if it insists on staging the strike it would resort to the military to guarantee the polling materials’ security and transport, for which that union was contracted.
Peralta and the heads of the bus owners’ associations are known as the country’s “owners” for their often violent strikes on which despite fatal victims, have never been convicted.