The Argentine union of maritime workers SOMU Friday staged a protest at the Buquebús terminal in the port of Buenos Aires to keep ships from sailing off to Uruguay in demand of a due wage increase of 23% agreed upon last year.
SOMU workers kept vehicles from boarding the Atlantic III bound for Colonia demanding that Argentine workers be paid the bonus and the 23% increase. Buquebus's promise prior to the union elections was that they would begin to pay, and now they refuse, a union representative told the Buenos Aires daily Ámbito.
“They are operating with two Uruguayan ships and the Argentine one does not leave, they have it tied up. By not going out, they pay a minimum wage which is less money, the protesters explained.
They argue that the Francisco ship has an infirmary on board and Covid can be controlled, but it can also be done on the other ship, asking for vaccination and temperature” controls, they went on.
Another SOMU complaint is that the company refuses to line-up mixed crews with Argentine and Uruguayan sailors.
“The ship is full, the tickets have been sold since last year, they say that they are building another ship in Australia and they are going to remodel a hotel, and they do not pay the Argentine maritime,” SOMU workers said.
According to Ámbito, if the conflict escalates other shipping workers may stage protests in solidarity, which could affect not only passenger trips to Uruguay, but also river transport of goods and fuels to the rest of the country.