Chilean police arrest key port strike figure
UPDATE (Jan. 28): Port workers have decided to strike again, alleging their employers have not upheld their end of the agreement.
UPDATE: Chile's port companies, workers and the government have reached a deal to bring strikes to a close. Click here for more details.
Special forces from the Chilean police have arrested eight workers involved in the debilitating strikes in San Antonio, including Port Workers Front (FTP) spokesperson Sergio Vargas, website Soysanantonio.cl reported.
The workers were detained in the port's Espigón sector today while preparing a communal meal, arrested for what appear to be public order offences.
FTP leader Julio Castillo told the publication the arrest was violent and unjustified.
The website also reported there was a "giant fire" last night in Ultramar facilities at the port, which was extinguished by firefighters.
The strikes are putting the country's fruit sector at risk while leading to disquiet among foreign importers and retailers, however seafreight fruit can still be exported from the central port of Valparaiso or Coquimbo in the north.
In an attempt to resolve the issue, representatives of the Chilean Fruit Growers Federation (Fedefruta) and the Chilean Fruit Exporters Association (ASOEX) held a meeting yesterday with Vargas and his colleagues in San Antonio, along with other members of the country's fruit industry round table (Mesa Frutícola).
Different parties were able to engage in dialogue about their respective positions, and Fedefruta president Cristián Allendes has been in contact with representatives from port operating companies in order to encourage a change in negotiations with workers, which to date have been deadlocked.