Argentina: Oilseed worker stoppage over as wage deal struck

By Jane Byrne contact

- Last updated on GMT

© GettyImages/Phototreat
© GettyImages/Phototreat

Related tags: Soybean meal, crushing

The strike by oilseed workers in Argentina has been brought to an end. Soy crushing companies signed a contract with the country’s oilseed workers unions last week.

The 20-day strike over wages had hindered the exports of soybean meal.

The agreement, after a meeting held at Argentina’s ministry of labor, sees a two-part 25% increase in salaries for the workers from January to August. Increases for the rest of the year are to be determined by the inflation rate, said Argentina’s CIARA soy crushing chamber.

Argentina’s oilseed workers’ federation welcomed the deal.

Soy crushing and other farm industry activities have been put on hold since the workers started strike action on December 9. The workers complained that their wages did not fully compensate them for Argentina’s high inflation rate and the risk of working during the COVID-19 pandemic.  

Argentina is the world’s top exporter of soybean meal and a major international soybean, wheat and corn supplier. The strike had negatively impacted the operations of Cargill, Bunge and Louis Dreyfus, and resulted in record high soybean prices.

Meanwhile, the country's grain inspectors' union, Urgara, said late last week that its members would continue to strike after failing to strike a wage deal despite two meetings with the Chamber of Private and Commercial Ports (CPPC).

The union is also calling for salary increases and an extraordinary bonus for its members having worked during the COVID-19 crisis.

Urgara's strike has the most significant impact on Argentina's southern ports, Bahía Blanca and Necochea, since companies operating out of the northern agro-port hub of Rosario - which handles 80% of Argentina's agricultural products - tend to hire grain receivers who are not associated with Urgara, according to local media reports.

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