"We are in a position to decree a state of energy emergency [...], which has two objectives: it allows for a Strategic Network of Filling Stations (SNFS) and ensures the readiness of security services", João Pedro Matos Fernandes said at a press conference at the ministry of labour in Lisbon.

The SNFS foresees 54 priority stations and 320 public stations.

Already today there are scenes of long queues at petrol stations, in some cases leading to traffic disruptions and tail backs, as drivers follow government advice to fill up their tanks ahead of the strike scheduled for 12 August.

In a previous strike that began on 15 April, Portugal’s government stipulated the guarantee of minimum services with 40% of workers in service, but only for Lisbon and Porto.

After the stoppage that left the filling stations without fuel, an agreement was reached in May between employers and drivers’ union SNMMP that promised a wage increase, starting in January 2020, and which included a special bonus, thus moving from a basic fixed salary of €630 to €1,400.

This new strike was called by the SNMMP union and the Independent Union of Goods Drivers (SIMM), on 15 July, accusing the bosses’ association ANTRAM of not wanting to comply with the agreement signed in May.

The drivers’ representatives want an agreement for gradual increases in the base salary until 2022: €700 in January 2020, €800 in January 2021 and €900 in January 2022, which, with the additional bonuses that are indexed to the base salary, would pay €1,400 in January 2020, €1,550 in January 2021 and €1,715 in January 2022.

This strike, for an indefinite period of time, threatens to bring the country to a stand-still, since it will affect all types of transport in all areas and not only the transport of dangerous goods. Supplies to supermarkets, industry and services will also be affected.