Argentine crush workers launch strike action over wage demands

5 Sep 2019 | Juan Pedro Tomas

Argentina’s crushers’ union federation FTCIOD has called a nationwide strike to demand the re-opening of salary negotiations, Daniel Yofra, the federation’s secretary-general has told Agricensus.

“The strike action kicked off on Wednesday night. We do not yet know if the strike action will end tonight, tomorrow or if we will launch an indefinite strike,” Yofra said.

The measure is affecting crushing activities at a national level with the exception of crushing plants located in the San Lorenzo area, in Santa Fe province, which belong to a separate union.

“There are companies such as Cargill, Louis Dreyfus, Molinos Rio de La Plata and Bunge which have operations in several regions. Those companies are only operating in the San Lorenzo area,” Yofra added.

FTCIOD’s demands come after the sharp devaluation of the peso against the US dollar spawned growing domestic price inflation following a shock win for the opposition party in a primary presidential election. 

The union highlighted the previous salary agreement, which was signed in December 2018, had a clause that allows parties to revise the economic situation from July 2019.

The union said companies had refused to re-open salary talks until now despite profits growing due to the devaluation of the peso.

“These companies, which sell in US dollars and pay salaries in pesos, today refuse to fulfill their commitments to renegotiate wages. They are also the ones that retain billions of dollars of the exported crop in 2018,” the union said in a statement.

Separately, the country’s crushing industry chamber Ciara said they oppose strike action as the crushing industry is already struggling with poor margins.

Ciara also highlighted that there had been negotiations this week with the unions to improve wages for crushing workers.