Update: Chilean port workers on strike

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Update: Chilean port workers on strike

Chilean port workers are officially on strike as of April 4. The Chilean Port Union and the Center Port Workers Front called for a halt to operations yesterday. The Number 1 Union of Dockworkers has also joined in.

The demonstrations come on the heels of what workers describe as a “lack of capacity and seriousness” from the government to resolve and implement the agreements reached with port workers, FreshFruitPortal.com reported April 3.

Some of the main issues include safety, unemployment, a National Port Policy, and the General Ports Law.

Flaming street barricades near the Ports of Valparaíso and San Antonio, followed by street protests were among the first public manifestations.

Further south, workers marched from the Port of Coronel to Concepción, an approximately 200-mile route. Port spokespeople said Wednesday that operations were already suspended but all pertinent actions to resume activities were being carried out.

Regional media also reported that workers from the Port of San Vicente had gathered in support.

In an interview with Radio ADN, the Chilean Minister of Finance, Mario Marcel, said the demands seem quite generic. "And unfortunately it happens very often in periods of greater export activity".

Marcel also said it is “demoralizing” how self-interests seem to be overcoming the country’s best interests.

"I believe that after everything we have been through in the last four years, many of these tensions and disputes have contributed to prolonging a complex situation for the country," Marcel added.

The foreign trade branch of the Multigremial Nacional also weighed in on the issue. A release stated that the call to paralyze the main ports would severely impact import and export cargo.

"Three shifts will stop operating completely, implying that once operations resume on Friday, the 5th, before a weekend, the terminals will quickly begin to feel the effect, leading to a major collapse," he said.

"As guilds and small and medium businesses, we are concerned about the negative impact that this entails, the economic costs that will affect companies and users, which causes an increase of logistics costs, and the subsequent delays when the port is overcrowded," he said.

Related articles: Labor strike looms at Chilean ports, as harvest season continues


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