Chilean port workers back on strike

01/28/2014 09:09:00 AM
Andy Nelson

A day after a port strike in Chile ended, workers went back on strike.

Workers at the Port of San Antonio went back to work Jan. 26 after 22 days on strike. But on Jan. 27, they began striking again, claiming that a port employer established new conditions for employment at the port, according to media reports.

Workers had been striking over retroactive pay for lunch breaks. The strike ended when port operators agreed to a lump sum payment for lunch breaks workers hadn’t been compensated for since 2005.

But when an employer announced it was offering 100 positions and potentially 150 more, union leaders said that was unacceptable, according to reports.

Unions want the same working conditions that existed before the strike began.

U.S. fruit importers have been unsure what effect, if any, the strike has had on Chilean fruit exports to the U.S.

In the week ending Jan. 18, U.S. imports of Chilean avocados, blueberries, cherries, grapes, nectarines and peaches were up from the week before, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Imports of Chilean avocados, cherries and grapes were higher in the week ending Jan. 18 than in the same week in 2013. Blueberry, nectarine and peach imports were lower.

Some U.S. importers believe the strike, coming less than a year after another one at a Chilean port, could hurt the image Chile is trying to cultivate of being business-friendly.



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