The government of Gustavo Petro announced an increase of 400 pesos in the gallon of gasoline for January 2023. Decision that has generated a lot of disagreement in the union of taxi drivers in the country. Hugo Ospina, union leader, assured that they do not rule out going on strike in the coming days.
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In an interview for ‘Blu Radio’, the union leader assured that “The president’s commitment was that he was going to gradually raise 200 pesos and suddenly he began to raise $400. We don’t know if the next month will be $600 and the next $1000”.
Along with this, Ospina explained that one of the factors that, in his opinion, raises the price of gasoline is the value of ethanol, which is mixed with gasoline. “How is it possible that today a gallon of ethanol costs us 23,000 pesos. (…) Take away the 10% or 12% that they put in ethanol from a gallon of gasoline, it gives you approximately $2,400,” he asserted.
He even described the “extra cost in tolls” that “bringing crude oil in large trucks” would generate as a “big cart.” Likewise, Ospina assured that: “They put an end to the tanker truckers and put the oil pipelines with the Colombian taxes to take the fuel directly to the refineries and, now, they come to tell us that the gallon of gasoline has gone up“.
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On the other hand, Alejandro Grimaldo, a taxi driver in Bogotá, said in an interview for ‘RCN Radio’ that the increase makes his work difficult. Especially for the number of hours you have to work to meet the quota.
“The rise in fuel affects us in such a way that it makes it impossible for us to work in our trade, in such a way that everything we have to do increases by 200%, starting with the workload, because we would have to work shifts 10, 12 or 15 hours to meet the quota to answer for the car,” he said.
Finally, Ospina told ‘Blu Radio’ that they do not rule out going on strike to show their disagreement. The demonstrations would not only be of taxi drivers but would extend to other unions such as cargo workers.
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“We are going to talk to our comrades about the reasons that gave rise to the strike call and if their arguments do not convince us, if they convince us to go sit down with the government, we will go on strike,” Ospina added.