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Argentina: Another fruit company closes
According to the Pagina/12 newspaper, Frutas NACE, a producer of pears and apples, has begun to lay off some of its employees and stated that it would close its establishment in Lamarque, in the province of Rio Negro. If there is no financial rescue, the company would leave 40 families on the street.
The company has a packaging facility and cold rooms. According to company representatives, the difficult situation in the fruit and vegetable sector hasn't allowed them to fulfill the commitments they have with their employees. In addition, they denounced pressures from the unions. According to the union, they are only defending the legitimate rights of the workers. This is the third company in the sector to close plants and make lay-offs in the province.
Last month, the Minister of Finance, Nicolas Dujovne, stated that the fruit and vegetable sector was proof that there was a recovery in employment, citing as an example four specific companies that would later state that there were no such signs of recovery and that they were not permanently incorporating staff. In a television interview, the official said that companies such as Despegar.com, Techint, Iveco and MercadoLibre had hired personnel, but they were temporary jobs or merely promises of work. He also spoke about two fruit companies: Cervi and Kleppe.
The alleged increase in the payrolls of these two companies was due to outsourcing and seasonal situations, such as the arrival of the harvests. In fact, the sector is in a compromised situation because of the economic policies of Cambiemos and climatic issues that have hit the crops. Expofrut has laid off workers after the harvest of many hectares of fruit trees, the closure of the Canale tomato plant, and the loss of work in other facilities. The closure of Canale in the town of Lamarque left 69 families without support.
The problems go beyond the Patagonian territory. The increases in input and energy prices, coupled with the rains, have significantly affected the production of the horticultural sector of the city of La Plata. In fact, legislator Gustavo Di Marzio (Block Peronism for Victory) presented a project to establish an emergency in the area for two years. This area alone has had many different kinds of losses that still can not be quantified on at least three thousand hectares.
Moreover, the Frutas NACE company in Rio Negro, which has its own production of pears and apples, and has been operating for 25 years, has also been affected by the crisis. The company produces, packs and exports pears and apples. It had even launched a high-end line for export not too long ago. The owner of the company, Arsenio Ferrarino, told local media that he had never suffered as much as now. In fact, the company has already started laying off staff. "Last year several of my producers' farms were affected by hail and sleet. As a result, we ran out of fruit ahead of time and were left with lots of injured fruit. I paid every work day, including the ones when people didn't work," said the businessman, who complained about the union pressure to comply with workers' rights.
The fruit guild argued before municipal authorities that their claims have been legitimate. Sergio Hernandez, the mayor of Lamarque, a municipality that has been affected by the crisis of the fruit and vegetable sector, is trying to mediate to avoid the social impact in the community. Ferrarino said the Secretary of Labor had asked him to pay workers the days he owed them, which ensured that he would have to close his company. The company has already decreased its staff by 25 percent, from 40 to 30 employees, according to the businessman himself.
Publication date: 4/21/2017
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