Argentina’s Main Grains Ports Paralyzed By Labor Strike

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May 20, 2013

reuters logoBUENOS AIRES, May 20 (Reuters) – Port workers in Argentina’s main grains hub of Rosario went on strike over wages on Monday, a local union spokesman said, slowing exports from the world’s No. 1 soymeal and soyoil supplier.

Wage strikes are common in Argentina, where private economists clock annual consumer price inflation at about 25 percent. Most of the work stoppages are short-lived, but those that go on for days can impact the global flow of grains.

Argentina is also a major wheat supplier and the world’s No. 3 source of corn and soybeans. Workers whose job it is to secure ships at dock in the main Rosario ports San Martin and San Lorenzo are participating in the strike.

“Cargo ships cannot reach dock,” said Edgardo Quiroga, spokesman for Argentina’s General Workers Confederation (CGT).

Negotiations toward ending the strike were taking place on Monday, another union source said.

Argentina’s Capym port industry chamber issued a statement confirming that ships were not being docked due to the work stoppage.

The work stoppage comes at a sensitive time of year for Argentina, as farmers rush to bring in their corn and soybean harvests. Demand for Argentine crops has increased due to thin U.S. reserves after a severe 2012 drought in the Midwest farm belt. (Reporting by Maximilian Heath; Writing by Hugh Bronstein; Editing by Toni Reinhold)

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