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Thursday, June 19, 2008

World Wide Trucker's Strike - Thailand - Turns to Blockade in Bangkok

In Thailand the trucker's strike took the direction of both a protest and a blockade.  Not only did truckers in the capital not deliver their products, but they used their large trucks to blockade the traffic of the capital.  Similar, but smaller protests of this nature have been seen elsewhere including in the United States where truck drivers drove significantly below the speed limit through the Washington DC area snarling traffic during the spring of 2008.

BANGKOK (Reuters) - A major Thai truckers group that is threatening to blockade the capital this week is due to meet energy and transport officials on Monday over its demands for government help against rising fuel prices.

Thongyu Khongkan, head of the Land Transport Federation of Thailand, which has 400,000 trucks under its banner, said he hoped the meeting would yield "positive results", but said he was not yet backing off his call for action on the streets.

"Our stance is clear that if we don't get what we want, our member organisations will start moving their trucks to Bangkok," Thongyu told Reuters.

"Imagine what will happen to Bangkok traffic when you have thousands of trucks driving very slowly into the capital and police can't stop us."

Last week, thousands of truckers nationwide went on a half-day strike demanding help against rising fuel prices, the latest in a series of protests that have swept across Asia and Europe as oil prices have soared to above $130 a barrel. Their specific demands included a discount of 3-baht ($0.09) per litre of diesel for six months, as well as cheap loans to convert engines to compressed natural gas.

State-run refineries agreed last month to sell diesel to Bangkok bus companies at an 8 percent discount under a cheap fuel scheme that has ample scope to incorporate other sectors such as fishermen and truckers.


It is one thing for truckers to not deliver food or mp3 players or even swimsuits but quite another when all other traffic is blocked from going about their business making the strike and the situation all the more immediate for the people present in the area.