SAO PAULO, July 11 (Reuters) - Dock workers at Brazil’s key shipping port of Santos began a one-day strike on Thursday in support of broader union demonstrations that slowed traffic in several cities across the country.
The stevedores at Santos held a six-hour protest on Wednesday, holding up some 13 container ships but not affecting bulk cargo shipments like soybeans and corn.
The Santos port authority did not yet have information on shipments affected by Thursday’s stoppage. Local television showed protesters blocking the entrance to Santos, preventing trucks from entering.
“We are in the street protesting, in support of the day of struggle,” Cesar Rodrigues Alves, a senior representative of the union of stevedores at Santos port, told Reuters by phone.
Dock workers have held occasional protests this year against legislation allowing the sale of port terminals to private companies that Congress passed on May 16. They fear a loss of jobs and benefits because private operators no longer have to hire through a centralized agency, “OGMO.”
Stevedores at ports throughout Brazil are expected to participate in the “day of struggle” organized by national umbrella unions, according to the National Stevedores Association in Brasilia.
Brazil is currently exporting record soy, corn and sugar crops. Typically, bulk cargo such as grains are less affected by labor stoppages because they require fewer workers. The movement of container goods with perishables such as coffee, bagged sugar and meats is more vulnerable. (Reporting by Caroline Stauffer; Editing by Nick Zieminski)