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Argentina grain inspectors, agro-export companies continue talks as strike drags on

BUENOS AIRES, Jan 5 (Reuters) - Argentina’s grain inspectors’ union, Urgara, said on Tuesday it was continuing to negotiate with agro-export companies anxious to end a 28-day strike that has stalled operations in some of the country´s top agricultural ports.

The union wants salary increases and a one-time bonus for workers who stayed on the job through the COVID-19 crisis. Its members walked off the job on Dec. 9.

Argentina is the world’s top exporter of soymeal and a major international soybean, wheat and corn supplier.

Urgara’s deputy press secretary, Juan Carlos Peralta, told Reuters that union members will meet with representatives from the Chamber of Private and Commercial Ports (CPPC) Tuesday night, seeking an end to the nearly month-long spat.

According to Peralta, Urgara’s strike is affecting the operations of T6, a grain terminal operated jointly by Bunge and the local grain exporter AGD in northern Rosario. It has also dampened activity in ports that serve Cargill and Louis Dreyfus in Bahía Blanca, as well as COFCO International in the town of Lima.

The CPPC confirmed the information provided by Urgara with respect to port operations.

Companies operating out of the northern agro-port hub of Rosario, which handles 80% of Argentina’s agricultural products, tend to hire grain receivers who are not associated with Urgara. (Reporting by Maximilian Heath; writing by Dave Sherwood; Editing by Leslie Adler)

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