Workers at Brazil grain port stage short stoppages
Saturday, 18 February 2012 | 00:00
Stevedores and other workers at Paranagua, Brazil's No. 2 grains port, held work stoppages to protest delays by administrators in producing a revised employment contract, the head of the local stevedores union said.
Both two-hour stoppages took place at Paranagua, the southern port that ships much of Brazil's corn and soy, though volumes of both are light at this time of year in the run-up to the peak of harvesting. A port spokeswoman said the effect on port operations was minimal, though it had caused some delays.
On Monday, Brazil's No. 1 soybean port of Santos lost half its export capacity on Monday when a ship ripped a four-story high steel grain loader off its pier and into the water. So the timing of the stoppages in Paranagua should exert pressure on the administrators.
Another two-hour stoppage was planned for Friday morning. The association of private terminal operators who employ the workers, rather than the actual port, would hold an assembly on Friday that protesters hoped would resolve their complaint.
"If it is not settled, it will continue again next Monday," said Antonio Carlos Bonato, head of the Paranagua union of stevedores.
He said administrators had taken too long to produce a new labor deal agreed between port workers and terminal operators, citing the complexity of calculating remuneration adjustments.
Santos' main grain terminal known as TGG has been closed since Monday and will likely take weeks to get fully up and running again due to the collision between a ship and one of its four grain loaders.
Meanwhile Brazil's 70 million tonnes soy harvest and 60 million tonne corn harvest, still in a early stage, are picking up speed.
Brazil is the world's No. 2 soy producer and ranks No. 3 for corn.
Last week, Santos dock workers suspended a 24-hour warning strike and will resume talks with the government over the terms of an annually-revised collective labor contract.
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