(Adds CGT strike)
By Nicolás Misculin
BUENOS AIRES, July 16 Port workers in
Argentina's Rosario hub began an indefinite strike on Wednesday,
joining grain inspectors, who walked out a day earlier and
threatening exports from the world's No. 3 exporter of soybeans
Strikes and labor disputes are common in Argentina, Latin
America's No. 3 economy, which has one of the world's highest
inflation rates and a depreciating currency, both of which are
eating into buying power. Argentine unions have hunkered down
for a tough round of wage talks.
The San Lorenzo branch of the CGT, a syndicate of unions,
said in a statement that from 6 p.m. local time (2100 GMT) it
would be "total paralysis for an indefinite period of time in
all the port terminals of the region."
Grain inspectors in Rosario, who on Wednesday at midnight
began their strike in a separate labor dispute, said they would
continue their strike for a second day.
"(Wage) agreements reached last year are now totally
outdated, given the inflation rate," said Pablo Palacio,
secretary of the Union of Grain Recipients of Argentina (Urgara)
Urgara has demanded a wage increase of 45 percent for its
workers. Private economists estimate inflation will top 30
percent this year.
Meanwhile, crews operating port vessels have threatened to
walk out on Thursday, an action that could paralyze the movement
of container ships. Truck drivers have vowed to strike beginning
The latest bout of industrial action comes near the end of
the harvest for soy and corn, a peak time for exports. Typically
thousands of truckloads of grain reach Rosario every day, with
more than $20 billion worth of grains and soy products shipped
Major grains exporters operating in Argentina include Bunge
, Louis Dreyfus and Cargill.
(Writing by Richard Lough; Editing by Steve Orlofsky)