Oilseed crushing workers resume unplanned strikes at Cargill plants

17 Apr 2018 | Juan Pedro Tomas

Argentine oilseed crushing workers are carrying out multiple, unplanned strikes at three crushing facilities operated by agribusiness major Cargill, Sergio Diaz, representative of the SOEAR oilseed crushers union, told Agricensus.

Diaz said that the affected crushing plants are Villa Governador Galvez and Punta Alvear, near Rosario, in Santa Fe province and Bahia Blanca, in Buenos Aires province.

Workers are urging the firm to re-employ a group of workers who had been dismissed by the company as part of a restructuring process.

Last month, Cargill ratified the dismissals of a group of workers after the expiration of a mandatory conciliation period order by the national Labour Ministry.

“On 9 April, the company decided to resume operations after it had halted activities at these plants over a four-day period. The following day, we started with our action plan and we have been carrying out sudden actions affecting different sectors such as grain loadings, biodiesel production and oilseed production," Diaz said

“We expect Cargill will decide to halt operations in the coming days alleging security reasons,” he said.

Cargill previously said that the unplanned strike actions meant it had been unable to guarantee safe conditions at the crushing plants.

According to maritime agency Nabsa, a total of four vessels are scheduled to load corn and soybean from Cargill’s port in Bahia Blanca over the next two weeks.

From Cargill’s Punta Alvear port, a total of three vessels are scheduled to load wheat and corn within the next 11 days.

Also, three vessels are in the line-up to lead soy meal from the Villa Governador port in the coming days.

Oilseed crushing workers are currently demanding a salary hike of 27% and the companies are offering a 15% increase.

Diaz said that workers could launch an aggressive strike action that would affect oilseed production at a national level if salary negotiations failed.