Saturday, 22 January, 2022

Diesel prices: truck drivers organize blocking operations

Truckers who are members of the Organization of European Road Transporters (OTRE) blocked several major roads across France on Saturday, December 7 in order to protest against the increase in their taxes on diesel, planned by the government. These operations, with fifteen blocking points planned mainly on roads with heavy traffic of foreign heavy goods vehicles, must end by the end of the afternoon, Jean-Marc Rivera, general delegate told AFP. of OTRE. However, the blocking operations announced on Thursday were not supported by the two main organizations in the business, FNTR and TLF.

The blockages, implemented from 7:00 a.m., are now all in place since 10:30 a.m., causing major disturbances on certain axes, particularly in Ile-de-France, on the A7 motorway in Rhône-Alpes, in the Occitanie region on the The A75 motorway, in Aveyron and around the Toulouse metropolitan area, said Mr. Rivera. Filter dams and snail operations caused several kilometers of traffic jams in several places in France.

Trucks in particular blocked the three lanes of the A8 motorway towards Lyon at Aix-en-Provence, where four entries on the motorway were prohibited, according to the Operational Center of crisis. A filter dam has also been installed on the A7 in the direction Valence-Lyon, near Chasse-sur-Rhône. The roadblocks that started as early as 7:00 am should be lifted by mid-afternoon, the others will last until the end of the day and will stop after dark “to take no risk for safety”, said the delegate. General of OTRE.

“The target of these actions are foreign heavyweights who, unlike the French, do not contribute to the financing of infrastructure and more often operate in France in an illegal manner by not respecting the European regulations known as cabotage”, which oversees the exercise of a transport activity in a third country, Jean-Marc Rivera told AFP. “Instead of operating for seven days, companies do not respect this limit and exercise continuously in particular because they pay their employees half less than the French, so if the finance bill is adopted as it is, these companies will also have a tax advantage on fuel, ”he continued.

Increase in taxes on diesel

OTRE must consult its members on Monday, in each of the regions, before making a decision concerning the continuation of the movement. The drivers denounce an increase of 2 cents in their taxes on diesel in the finance bill for 2020. This measure, which should bring in 140 million euros in a full year, is intended to finance transport infrastructure.

It was approved by the National Assembly on October 17, then deleted by the Senate at first reading. A joint committee is due to meet next Wednesday to try to find an agreement on a text.

Professional organizations believe that truck drivers are already heavily taxed. They deplore that the rise in diesel only affects French truck drivers and reduces their competitiveness while foreigners refuel in neighboring countries where fuel is cheaper.

To finance infrastructure, OTRE, like FNTR and TLF, advocate the establishment of an eco-contribution that would be paid by the shipper and spare the carriers. The government, for its part, believes that it has taken all steps to ensure that transporters can pass on the rise in the price of diesel to their customers.

(With AFP)