BUENOS AIRES, Nov 10 (Reuters) - Argentina agro-export companies and grains port workers are still far from reaching a salary agreement, a port chamber source said on Tuesday, prolonging strikes that continue to impact shipments from one of the world’s top exporters.
The URGARA union, which represents inspectors who check the quality of grains before they are loaded onto ships, launched surprise strikes on Monday to protest stalled wage talks, hitting shipments in some major terminals of Puerto General San Martín, San Lorenzo, Quequén and Bahía Blanca.
Argentina is the world’s top exporter of processed soy meal and soy oil, and one of the largest sellers of raw soybeans. Grains are the country’s primary export driver and an important source of much-needed foreign currency.
“The dialogue is open with URGARA, but for now we are far apart in our positions,” a source from the Chamber of Private Commercial Ports (CPPC) told Reuters, asking not to be identified.
“They carry out intermittent measures, they vary,” the CPPC source said about the striking workers. “In some cases they stop shipments, in others they stop the entry of trucks (with grains) or they do not work overtime.”
Another source from the port sector said that URGARA’s work stoppage was impacting the important ACA cooperative and ADM , in ports of the agro-export area of Rosario.
“We are going to see what happens in the course of the day. If there is a serious proposal, we will evaluate it and sit to discuss how the status of the protests and if we lift [the measures],” said Juan Carlos Peralta, a spokesman for the URGARA union.
URGARA’s protest comes as other unions in the country’s agriculture industry are also demanding wage increases to offset high inflation, though there is less movement in Argentina’s ports at this time of year as farmers are in the planting stage. (Writing by Cassandra Garrison Editing by Marguerita Choy)