By Maximilian Heath
BUENOS AIRES, Dec 23 (Reuters) – Soymeal manufacturers in Argentina presented late on Tuesday a proposal aimed at ending a two-week strike by oil and port workers unions that has thrown a wrench in the flow of agricultural exports from one of the world’s main bread baskets.
Oilseed workers and grains inspectors are demanding pay increases big enough to compensate them for high inflation and the risk of working during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Daniel Succi, an official with the Union of Oilseed Workers and Employees (SOEA), said workers on Wednesday morning had met the newly proposed labor deal from export companies with skepticism, calling it insufficient.
“We will surely …have a response to this offer, which is not enough,” said Succi, adding the salary adjustment had fallen short of expectations.
The stakes are growing by the day as negotations continue to sputter 14 days after workers first walked off the job.
Since last week, no soybean trucks have entered terminals at the country’s main grains hub of Rosario, from which about 80% of Argentina’s farm exports are shipped. Argentina’s CIARA-CEC export companies chamber said more than 100 cargo ships have been unable to load during the strike.
Late in the day on Tuesday, unions linked to Argentina´s maritime and port sector announced they too would start a 36-hour strike beginning Wednesday morning in support of their fellow workers.
Argentina is the top international supplier of soymeal, livestock feed used to fatten hogs and poultry from Europe to Southeast Asia. (Reporting by Maximilian Heath; Writing by Dave Sherwood; Editing by Bernadette Baum)
<em>(c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2020.</em>
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