New strike actions renew pressure on Argentine grain shipments

20 May 2021 | Juan Pedro Tomas

Grain and oilseed exporters out of Argentina could face additional disruption as more trade unions join an existing 48-hour walkout at key ports, while representatives of maritime and logistics workers have announced plans to stage a second strike next week. 

The country’s maritime and port federation Fempinra launched a 24-hour strike action to demand vaccines for its workers, with the action starting at 0600 local time on May 20.

Also, grain receivers union Urgara followed the lead to announce its own 24-hour strike action as it too demanded Covid-19 vaccines for the union’s workers.

A source in the grain export segment told Agricensus that the sector had urged the national government to try to find a solution to the issue that is disrupting grain shipments across all grain ports, with the impact accentuated by low water levels in key rivers.

“We are hostages of this situation. We understand that it is key that all workers can obtain the vaccine but we also need to see that the situation with the low water levels in the Parana River is critical and the strike is worsening the situation,” the source said.

“The unions had meetings with government authorities yesterday and there will be new talks today but they failed to reach a solution to this conflict by now,” the source added.

On top of that, the 11 marine- and logistics-based trade unions announced it would hold a new 48-hour strike action scheduled to start on May 26.

The unions are currently carrying out a 48-hour protest, which was expected to end this afternoon, are demanding Covid-19 vaccines for its members amid fresh disruption and a wave of coronavirus cases among several crews.

The ongoing industrial action has paralysed grain shipments at ports in the Rosario hub as well as in the Atlantic ports of Quequen and Bahia Blanca.