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Risk of new truck drivers' strike in Brazil in coming weeks

Supreme Federal Tribunal (STF) minister Luiz Fux suspended, on December 6, the issuing of fines by the National Terrestrial Transportation Agency (ANTT) for those disobeying the minimum rates for road freight services. The suspension is slated to hold until the STF can rule on the constitutionality of the existence of minimum rates, a request from the National Agriculture and Stockbreeding Confederation (CNA). A number of union leaders have called for a new truck drivers' strike to pressure the court and government.

The minimum shipping rates were the government's solution to end a strike by truck drivers in May, which led to shortage of fuels in main cities and a general slowdown of the economy. At this time, calls for a new strike have not yet materialized into an agreed response, yet the previous labor action demonstrated the impact the drivers can have on the Brazilian economy and popular sentiment. Furthermore, a future government led by President-elect Jair Bolsonaro will be much more willing to forcefully intervene against the strike. Therefore, we assess the likelihood of a new strike will in fact decrease after January 1.

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