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Argentine labour disputes are bogging down shipments of soy and grains

Saturday, March 10th 2012 - 04:47 UTC
Full article 7 comments
Union chief Omar Suarez says more ship guides are needed Union chief Omar Suarez says more ship guides are needed

Crews needed to guide ships through Argentine ports will stay off the job until more staff is assigned to work busy docking shifts, a union leader reiterated on Friday.

The week-old walkout by the dock workers has bogged down shipments of soy-oil, used for cooking and in the booming international bio-fuels sector. Argentina is also a major global provider of corn and soybeans.

Cargo ships cannot be moored without the specialized workers. So dozens of the giant-sized vessels have had to drop anchor at the mouth of the country's river ways over the last week, waiting for the labour dispute to end.

“The logistics companies don't want to put more crew members on the job. But there are labour laws that they have to obey,” said union chief Omar Suarez.

“We are not on strike, but neither can we be expected to work 24-hour shifts without sleeping,” he added. “As long as there is a lack of crew on deck, we cannot do our jobs”.

The dispute could further constrict the flow of corn and soy out of the country, where crop prospects have already been dented by a drought during the summer months.

Farm revenue is important to Argentina's fiscal health. So port strikes in the country are followed by international grains traders and sovereign bondholders alike.

Grains exporting giants Cargill, Bunge, Molinos Rio de la Plata, Noble and Louis Dreyfus operate in the country's main shipping hub of Rosario.

The dock workers walked off the job last week just as Argentine farmers were set to harvest their 2011/12 crops.

Argentina’s key role as a global grains and oilseed supplier has been setback by regular labour disruptions as unions push for wage hikes in line with double-digit inflation.

Categories: Economy, Argentina.

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  • Steve-32-uk

    Very militant workforce. I'm not even sure of the reasons they are walking out.

    Certainly not good for productivity.

    Mar 10th, 2012 - 09:45 am 0
  • ptolemy

    This is fast becoming a mess with the constant protests, political aspects (no ships with British/ etc. flags can be unloaded) and silly import/export laws.

    Mar 10th, 2012 - 01:59 pm 0
  • Brit Bob

    Another reason why Argentina is in such a mess.

    Mar 10th, 2012 - 03:58 pm 0
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