BUENOS AIRES, July 16 Grains inspectors who
began a strike on Wednesday in Argentina's pivotal Rosario
export hub will extend it for a second day if there is no
progress on their demand for higher salaries, a senior union
Other unions are also threatening labor actions, risking
disruptions in the shipping of grains from Argentina, the
world's third largest exporter of corn and soybeans. The
striking workers check the quality of grains before they are
stored and then loaded onto ships.
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 that is eating into
salaries. Argentine unions have hunkered down for a tough round
of wage talks.
"(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outdated, given the inflation rate," said Pablo Palacio,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)
"During the latter hours of the day we will see whether to
continue with the strike or not."
Urgara has demanded a wage increase of 45 percent for its
workers. Private economists estimated inflation would top 30
percent this year.
A second trade union, the powerful CGT labor organization,
was due to hold talks on Wednesday night to determine whether to
strike for better working conditions.
Meanwhile, crews operating port vessels have threatened to
walk out on Thursday, a move that could paralyse the movement of
container ships. Truck drivers have vowed to strike beginning
The latest labor dispute 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 every year.
Major grains exporters operating in Argentina include Bunge
, Louis Dreyfus and Cargill.
(Reporting by Nicolas Misculin; Editing by Richard Lough and