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Jordan truckers strike over costly fuel, some shops shut in solidarity

December 14, 2022 at 8:00 pm

Hundreds of truck drivers stage a convoy protest on February 23, 2017 [Salah Malkawi/Anadolu Agency]

Shops in some Jordanian provincial cities shut on Wednesday in solidarity with thousands of lorry drivers who have staged several days of sporadic strikes in protest at high fuel prices, drivers and witnesses said.

Truck drivers have launched partial work stoppages and sit-ins over the last week, mainly in Jordan’s impoverished southern provinces, to demand that the government reduce diesel prices, saying mounting costs have led to losses for their businesses.

The crisis has led to congestion in the country’s main Red Sea port of Aqaba where cargo has piled up, and has disrupted normal trailer-truck transport of imported goods to the capital Amman and other cities.

Some shops in the provincial cities of Maan, Tafila and Karak announced a closure of business on Wednesday in solidarity with the striking lorry drivers, witnesses and drivers said.

“They have not left us with dignity, officials don’t feel for us. We cannot feed our kids anymore,” said Abdullah Kreishan, a truck driver from the city of Maan.

Some activist strikers have threatened to stage street protests in provincial cities on Friday.

READ: Jordan raises price of diesel and kerosene and lowers price of gas for month of October

Anger with the authorities over worsening living standards, corruption and high fuel prices has in the past triggered civil unrest in Jordan.

The government has promised to look into the strikers’ demands but has said it already has paid over 500 million dinars ($700 million) to cap fuel price hikes this year.

Under an IMF structural reform programme, fuel prices are adjusted monthly in line with global market fluctuations.

Jordan has a fleet of about 20,000 trailers, many owned by individuals, who say living conditions are worsening and high inflation is making it harder to make money.

Haulage of goods and cargo to the main neighbouring Iraqi and Saudi markets has not been severely affected.