The leader of Chile’s leading fruit growers association is lobbying for legislation that would protect Chilean growers against crippling port strikes.
Juan Carolus Brown, president of Chile’s National Federation of Fruit Producers, also known as Fedefruta, met with Chilean senators in Valparaiso, Chile, recently to stress the importance of Chilean fruit shipping in a timely manner, according to Fedefruta’s website.
Port strikes at the peaks of the 2013 and 2014 seasons posed serious risks for shippers, Brown told legislators Iván Moreira Barros, Rabindranath Quinteros and Patricio Walker Prieto Lara, members of Chile’s Senate Agriculture Committee.
The strikes, Brown argued, affect not only shippers but hundreds of thousands of farm workers.
Fedefruta is lobbying for a law that will ensure that the movement of perishable items is not affected in the event of a strike. Brown told legislators that passing such legislation would be a focal point of his term as Fedefruta president.
Brown said the Chilean fruit industry cannot endure another strike on the magnitude of the 2013 and 2014 strikes.
Brown also reiterated to legislators Fedefruta’s call for a government-sanctioned body that would regulate the activity at ports and anticipate any strike-related interruptions in shipments.
In the most recent strike, workers at Chile’s Port of San Antonio went on strike over retroactive pay for lunch breaks. Workers struck for 22 days in January, went back to work for a day, then struck for two more days before a final deal was reached Jan. 28.