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France: Strike, fire puts soybean crushing on hold at Bunge plant

By Jane Byrne

- Last updated on GMT

© GettyImages/SandraMatic
© GettyImages/SandraMatic
Production at Bunge’s soybean crushing plant in Brest, France has been on hold for a number of days due to a strike following a fire in a storage silo, the company told Reuters yesterday [March 18].

The strike action began on March 12, Bunge said.

The company did not detail the reasons for the ongoing strike at the facility, which is located in the northwestern part of the country, but local media reported the walkout was triggered by safety concerns regarding the fire, which was first detected on February 27.

The fire was only completely put out on March 13, said local authorities.

“The fire is the last straw, because there have already been security problems," ​Nicolas Jego, Force Ouvrièr (FO) union representative, told FranceInfo. He said workers want pay increases, better training and better safety conditions. 

The factory, which mainly crushes imported soybeans for oil and livestock feed, can process 700,000 tons of oilseeds annually and employs around 50 people, the firm said.

Bunge confirmed that it is now in the process of cleaning the silo hit by the fire, adding that it has also decided to speed up maintenance work for the four other silos at the plant.

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