McDonald's out of buns in Rio de Janeiro as truckers strike

McDonald's out of buns in Rio de Janeiro as truckers strike

As strikes continue to hobble Brazilian customs, the government is now facing up to protests linked to rising fuel prices.

Local media reported food shortages and rationing in some supermarkets, and an association of supermarkets in Brazil's south warned that perishable food would run out in days if the strike did not end.

Unable to obtain fuel supply for city busses, officials in Latin America's largest city, São Paulo, announced bus fleets would be reduced by forty percent on Thursday, since fuel tankers are unable to reach the city's bus depot to deliver diesel and gasoline.

"There's no food, no fuel", said Joao Roberto, an Uber driver in Rio de Janeiro who was parked at an empty gas station.

The Brazilian Association of Meat Industry Exporters said dozens of meatpacking plants were idling because of the strike, and 1,200 containers carrying beef for export were not being loaded on ships each day.

Demonstrators gather atop a truck as Brazil's Army soldiers patrol outside a fuel distribution center as truckers attend a protest against high diesel fuel prices in Duque de Caxias near Rio de Janeiro, Brazil May 27, 2018.

On Wednesday night, the lower house of Congress rushed through a bill to eliminate a tax on diesel through the end of the year.

McDonald's out of buns in Rio de Janeiro as truckers strike
McDonald's out of buns in Rio de Janeiro as truckers strike

Trucks move 60 percent of the goods that are transported in Brazil, and a protracted strike could cause havoc as it emerges from a 2015-16 recession. But the Senate still had to approve it.

The strike caused hundreds of public schools in several states on Friday to cancel classes, while roads in many cities were blocked and the Brasilia worldwide airport said planes would only be allowed to land if they had enough fuel to depart on subsequent flights.

Shares of the state-owned oil company, Petrobras, dropped by 15% on Thursday after it announced it was cutting diesel prices by 10% to encourage negotiations.

It was not immediately clear if protesting truckers would demobilize on Monday. This coupled, with an increase in the global price of oil in recent weeks, has seen a steady increase in fuel prices.

Brazil is a member of the G20 group of the world's largest emerging and advanced economies, but the first five days of the strike were estimated to have cost the country's economy $2.8 billion, according to the daily Folha de Sao Paulo. "Truckers know how to count, Mr. President".

Under the government's latest deal, Petrobras will extend its price cuts to 30 days with the state compensating it for costs beyond the initially announced 15-day period.

Eliseu Padilha, chief of staff for President Michel Temer, told reporters in Brasilia that several unions representing truck drivers agreed to suspend the strike to give all parties time to find a solution to rising fuel prices.

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