Argentina: Trade union conflict paralyzes the port of San Antonio for almost three days

A few days before the end of the export season, which is about to end as the last container vessels have just arrived to the port, the port activity suffered a new delay, due to a conflict that paralyzed the cargo and about 90 trucks with more than 2 million kilos of fruit, for three days.

The work resumed yesterday at dawn, and tomorrow the conflicting parties will meet at the secretariat of work of Viedma, to finish solving the conflict.

Everything began on Wednesday afternoon, when the Maritime, Port and Naval Industry Federation (Fempinra), a guild that brings together a small number of workers, decided to initiate a strike against the concessionaire company of the maritime terminal Patagonia North, demanding, among other things, the reinstatement of an affiliate.

The request was echoed by the firm, but this precipitated the malaise of the Union of Port Workers (Sopsao), which in turn claimed for the firing of two workers and for other pending points, such as making the crane operators permanent plant employees, as well as some issues related to security measures. These new demands caused the paralysis of the activity to continue.

The provincial portfolio and the national referents of the Federation of Port Stevedores (Fepa) intervened and managed to organize a meeting tomorrow, at a time to be determined, so that the guilds and the firm can solve their differences and the season can come to an end.

The conflict takes place within the framework of the critical situation that the activity is going through, especially in the case of the local maritime terminal. The manager of Northern Patagonia, Cristian Lopez, called this the worst season of the last 20 years, and even predicted that the company would have to analyze its future commercial horizon. This generates uncertainty for the 120 workers who are part of its permanent plant.

"The bottom line is our future in the company. We wanted to finish the season without having problems but they are giving recognition to a guild that does not have it (Fempinra) and that's why we had to strike. However, I repeat, the main thing is that there is a climate of disinvestment. We feel they are betting strongly on the Port of Bahia Blanca, while here, in San Antonio Este, nothing is happening and we see our work source threatened," said Julio July Cullumilla, one of heads of Sopsao.


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