Argentine oilseed workers warn of "aggressive strike": union

28 Mar 2018 | Juan Pedro Tomas

Argentine oilseed crushing workers are warning that they will take indefinite strike actions in the coming weeks that would impact activity at grain terminals across the country, Sergio Diaz, representative of the SOEAR oilseed crushers union, told Agricensus.

On Monday, oilseed crushing workers launched a nation-wide 24-hour strike action over pay.

Workers are currently demanding a salary hike of 27% and the companies are offering a 15% salary increase, Diaz said.

“The Labour Ministry is likely to order a mandatory conciliation, which would be valid for 15 working days. Once the mandatory conciliation expires, we will carry out very aggressive strike action if we do not reach a salary agreement,” he added.

Oilseed crushing workers are also involved in strike actions at Cargill’s soy processing plants in Rosario and Bahia Blanca, opposing the dismissal of workers from Cargill’s plants in Villa Gobernador Gálvez and Punta Alvear, near Rosario.

Earlier this month, Cargill ratified the dismissals once a mandatory conciliation ordered by the national Labour Ministry had expired.

The firm said the dismissal of workers was part of its plan to restructure operations in Rosario and Bahia Blanca.

Diaz said that the oilseed crushing workers union would adopt an aggressive approach regarding this conflict.

“We believe we would not accept a mandatory conciliation in this specific conflict with Cargill as we think that the nature of this conflict is very serious,” he said.

The union official also said that workers are currently carrying out sudden and limited strikes which are partially affecting the firm’s production sectors.

He said that these protest actions are affecting grain loadings, biodiesel production and oilseed production, among others.

“Cargill is currently expanding its production levels and according to this we are planning our strike actions,” he said.

According to the latest available statistics from the Rosario grain chamber BCR, Cargill had exported 3.8 million mt of grains from its Punta Alvear plant in 2017.

The company’s Villa Gobernador Gálvez plant had exported a total of 442,754 mt of grain last year.