Minister Carlos Tomada does not intend to meet SUPA leaders as lonng as the strike continues. (Photo: Ministerio de Trabajo/www.trabajo.gov.ar)
Dockers’ strike affects fish plants, exporters
Friday, May 04, 2012, 23:30 (GMT + 9)
The head of the Ministry of Labour of the Nation, Carlos Tomada, warned that today he will not meet with the leaders of the United Argentinean Port Union (SUPA) because dock workers continue blocking the port of Mar del Plata, in the province of Buenos Aires.
A meeting between the parties was expected in Buenos Aires city so as to discuss the strike issue that has been carried out by dock workers since 25 April. The union used this measure to protest about the lack of responses to the request for pensions for about 200 workers.
Meanwhile, SUPA is assessing whether to temporarily put an end or to maintain the stoppage, Pescare reported.
A union source said "a sort of 48 or 72 hour recess" will be proposed to see if it is possible to solve the conflict.
The issue concerning the application for pensions has been under discussion since 2009: the oldest dock workers seek to have a pension that is equivalent to nearly three minimum pensions, but they lack the necessary social security contribution.
SUPA general secretary, Juan Carlos Ferreyra, was supported by the Argentinean Confederation of Transport Workers (CATT), as it was announced by the provincial deputy, Héctor Martínez, also linked to the Lorry Drivers’ Union.
Meanwhile, on Thursday the Argentinean Fisheries Business Council (CEPA) and the Argentinean Chamber of Fisheries Industry (CAIPA) requested the intervention of the governor of Buenos Aires, Daniel Scioli, given the various conflicts that have contributed to the stoppage at the port of Mar del Plata, reported 0223 Vespertino Digital.
For several days, the port terminal has been blocked and this causes great economic loss.
The two associations sent a letter to Scioli in which they describe "the consequences of the strike carried out by a group of dock workers and the effects of other ongoing conflicts, which include the decision taken by Lorry Drivers’ Union to cancel the collection of fish waste and the organisation of a boycott by the United Maritime Workers' Union (SOMU) against fish exports."
Furthermore, they noted "the economic and financial difficulties being experienced by companies" and the fact that the failure to carry out the loading and unloading of goods result in "the presence of 40 vessels on the docks, which contain a total of 100,000 cases of fresh fish of about 33 kilograms each, comprising 3,300,000 kg," the note reads.
"To summarize the current situation, we have loaded boats that we can not unload, we have plants that can not operate and that have waste inside them, we can not load frozen goods we have in our cold storage ready for export," added the business leaders.
"Today we have a social problem as it is impossible to work, a financial problem for having interrupted our cash flow, we do not load goods, then we do not receive payment. All this only makes the economic situation worse and we do not count with tools to get out of it," concludes the letter to the governor of Buenos Aires.
- Dockworkers’ strike continues
By Analia Murias