Peru government, transport unions make deal to end strike

LIMA (AFP) – The Peruvian government and transport unions, striking since last Monday over fuel price increases, have reached an agreement to end the protests, authorities announced on Saturday.

“After a long day of dialogue, leaders of the transport unions reached an agreement with the government and signed an act benefitting the sector and are committed to lifting their strike,” the Ministry of Transport said on Twitter.

As part of the agreement, state-owned Petroperu will reduce the price of diesel and fuel will be subsidised by a special fund protecting against price volatility.

The unions agreed to clear roadblocks, including barricades made of rocks, burning tires and tree trunks, which had snarled traffic on main roads in several regions.

Police on Friday broke up several protests and roadblocks, resulting in 71 arrests.

The strike had forced police to deliver medical oxygen tanks meant for coronavirus patients by helicopter. Local media also said the roadblocks caused delays for some people going to vaccination appointments at hospitals.

According to the unions, a gallon of diesel had jumped in price to USD4.00 in December from USD2.90.

The protests came just weeks before April 11 presidential and parliamentary elections.

File photo shows a blockade in the road linking the highland cities of Puno and Arequipa, Peru, following clashes with the national police during a nationwide transporters strike against the increase in fuel cost. PHOTO: AFP