Argentina crush strikes could 'last until next week': union

16 Dec 2020 | Juan Pedro Tomas

Argentine oilseed workers are expected to continue the strike actions that are currently hitting activity at most of the country’s crushing capacity until at least next week after last-ditch salary talks with the sector’s chambers failed, Daniel Yofra, the secretary-general of crushers’ union FTCIOD has told Agricensus.

“I believe that strike actions will continue. The companies are very reluctant to reach an agreement taking into account our demands. Due to this, we do not foresee a solution to this conflict at least until next week,” the union leader said.

On December 15, the San Lorenzo Oil Workers Union (SOEA) confirmed that strike action would continue and that an assembly would decide the next steps on December 16 at 1600 local time.

Meanwhile, FTCIOD confirmed that the joint strike action being carried out with grain receivers union Urgara will continue after salary negotiations failed on December 14.

Industry sources also said that the conflict that is effectively paralyzing crushing activities and grain exports could continue until next week, estimating that each day of the strike is causing losses of approximately $100 million to the sector.

“The unions presented us with salary claims that were even higher than the previous ones and did not comply with the request to lift the measures formulated by the government officials, showing a lack of willingness to talk,” the local oilseed crushing and exporters chamber Ciara-CEC said in a statement.

“The strike actions affect all grain ports and crushing plants, thus blocking exports and, consequently, the inflow of foreign exchange,” the chamber added.

According to estimates by the local industry, over 130 ships are currently waiting to load grain due to the strikes. A total of 4.5 million mt of grain and derivative products are on hold due to the conflict, according to the industry.