Back in May 2018, Brazilian truckers disgruntled by rising fuel prices went on strike for 11 days—generating fuel and food shortages in several urban centers and causing tens of billions of dollars in losses. The then-Finance Ministry—since rebranded as the Economy Ministry—estimated the losses at nearly BRL 16 billion, caused by drops in industrial output and tax collection. The agribusiness sector was one of the worst-affected, with millions of livestock starving to death and millions of liters of milk being left to spoil.
To bring the strike to an end, then-President Michel Temer decided to publish a reference table including minimum prices for cargo transportation services, seen as a way of securing better working conditions for truck drivers. However, the specter of future strikes has never quite gone away, with truckers’ unions complaining that the reference table hasn’t been properly enforced.