The loading of more than 100 ships of agricultural products is delayed in Argentina due to a prolonged strike carried out by three important unions in the sector over wage claims, the chamber of grain processing and exporting companies CIARA-CEC said on Monday.
Activity at the milling plants – located next to the ports – of Argentina, a key global food exporter, has been affected since December 9, when two unions of oil workers and the union of grain receivers, Urgara , started a strike that is still continuing.
“The strike continues without any expectation that negotiations will resume in the short term. We have more than 100 ships waiting to be loaded,” Gustavo Idígoras, president of CIARA-CEC, told Reuters.
CIARA-CEC dialogues with the Union of Oil Workers and Employees (SOEA), which brings together milling workers in the agro-industrial and port pole of northern Rosario, and with the Federation of Oil Workers, which represents workers in processing plants in the rest of the country.
According to data from the Rosario Stock Exchange (BCR), on Monday no truck loaded with soybeans entered the Rosario port terminals -where the grain is ground-, just like last week.
On the same date in 2019, the number of trucks reported had been 1,088 units, according to the BCR.
“There is high compliance and every time (the companies) make the statements they make there is more anger and more anger and much more support from the people,” Juan Carlos Peralta, Urgara’s press secretary, who negotiates with the Chamber of Private Commercial Ports (CPPC).
The companies consider that the unions have been intransigent, with claims that are not reasonable, while the workers accuse the companies of not complying with salary updates already agreed, amid the high inflation that the country suffers.
According to the unions, agro-export firms have doubled their turnover in pesos due to the devaluation of the local currency against the dollar and the rise in the international value of soybeans, of whose by-products Argentina is the main global exporter.
The agro-export sector is one of the pillars of the economy and the main source of foreign exchange for Argentina, which for years has been mired in a recession with high inflation, a situation aggravated in 2020 by the COVID-19 pandemic.
In a report published on Friday, the BCR estimated that this year Argentina will register exports of corn, wheat, soybeans and oilseed derivatives – the main shipments of the country – for a total of 21,428 million dollars, about 1,320 million dollars less than in 2019