FILE PHOTO: Grain is loaded aboard ships for export on a port on the Parana river near Rosario
FILE PHOTO: Grain is loaded aboard ships for export on a port on the Parana river near Rosario, Argentina January 31, 2017. Picture taken January 31, 2017. REUTERS/Marcos Brindicci/File Photo

December 5, 2020

By Hernan Nessi

BUENOS AIRES (Reuters) – Argentina’s CIARA oilseed crushing companies’ chamber has accused striking workers of threatening the country’s competitive edge and ability to withstand the present social crisis, and called on them to return to the negotiating table.

Argentina’s SOEA oilseeds crushers union said on Friday it would extend a strike that started on Thursday until Sunday morning in their bid to extract bonuses from their companies for continuing to work during the COVID-19 pandemic.

CIARA said in a statement that the action was causing “serious disruption to the normal operation of milling plants” and that “wildcat activity goes beyond the bounds of a legitimate right to strike.”

“Every hour and day of production that is lost is not recovered, exports decline and so does our ability to attract the foreign currency Argentina as a whole needs to handle social crises,” CIARA said.

“These losses, meanwhile, are gains for other factories elsewhere in the world while Argentina sees its main industry shrinking day by day.”

The strike has hit various grain-processing plants in the key agro-industrial hub north of Rosario, which concentrates about 80% of the agricultural and agro-industrial exports of Argentina, one of the world’s top grains exporters.

SOEA union official Daniel Succi said late on Friday that the strike would be extended until 6 a.m. (0900 GMT) on Sunday and that workers would meet to evaluate their next move. They want a special bonus for working during the COVID-19 pandemic.

(Reporting by Hernan Nessi, writing by Aislinn Laing; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)

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