Truck driver sounds alarm over carrier shortage in Spain

Working as a truck driver hasn’t always been easy for Begona Urmeneta, but she loves her job and says Spain needs people like her more than ever as Europe grapples with a severe shortage of carriers .

The 59-year-old divorced mother of two and grandmother of two have been driving long-haul trucks hauling everything from fish to hazardous substances for 26 years. “You absolutely have to prove yourself time and time again … When I started they said …” Begona is a girl, she can’t carry a fridge, she can’t move the pallets “…

“If that makes them happy, let them say it. Because so far I can, and if I can’t, I ask for help,” said Urmeneta, from the region of Valencia, in eastern Spain. Women represent only 4% of truck drivers in Spain, compared to 20% of taxi or bus drivers. The government has ordered a review of measures to attract more women and a younger generation to an industry where work can be physically demanding and often lonely, keeping drivers away from their homes and families for long periods of time.

SHORTAGE With the average age of a truck driver in Spain today 50, Urmeneta estimates that within 10 years there might not be any more to transport the country’s goods.

“The current shortage of 10,000 to 20,000 truck drivers in Spain is nothing, (it’s) the tip of the iceberg,” she told a Reuters reporter who accompanied her on the day. of a 32 hour trip carrying resins from Torrent, Valence, to Perpignan, France. Long hours on the road away from home don’t deter Urmeneta, who keeps a sign on her windshield that says “Trucker Woman – my profession, my passion”.

A carrier shortage is by no means limited to Spain, as evidenced by supply chain disruptions earlier this year as the global economy began to emerge from the coronavirus pandemic and lockdowns it she provoked. Europe alone faces a shortage of around 400,000 truck drivers, according to the European Association of Road Transporters.

In Spain, the national association of truck drivers, Fenadismer, called off a three-day strike scheduled for the week before Christmas after the government accepted their demand that drivers no longer have to load and unload goods from trucks. Fenadismer’s deputy director Juan Jose Gil said he hopes conditions will improve in the sector due to labor reforms in Spain that empower unions in wage negotiations and a new EU directive which aims to level the playing field for transport companies in the 27 countries. block.

Urmeneta was less confident, saying she expected fewer young people to be attracted to such demanding work with relatively low pay. “Factory jobs are much more attractive. People can come home every day,” she said.

(This story was not edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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