Dock workers at Brazil's Santos port call off strike vote

SAO PAULO, March 23 (Reuters) - A union representing the on-demand dock workers has called off a vote that had been scheduled for Monday on whether to hold a strike at Latin America’s largest port over concerns about risks from the coronavirus outbreak.

In a statement on Sunday, the union - which said it represents about 5,000 people - said the cancellation of the vote was due to a request from government officials. The statement did not set a new date for the vote.

While the vote was suspended, the union called on the government to pass measures guaranteeing compensation for the workers during the coronavirus crisis.

The union is also demanding additional health protections.

Sopesp, an association representing port operators in the state of São Paulo, said on Monday operations remained normal at the port, where most of Brazil’s soybeans, corn, cotton, and coffee are exported to world markets.

Port operators have been reducing their reliance on the autonomous workers represented by the union, according to Santos port authority Codesp.

On Friday, Codesp declined to comment on the impact of any labor action at Santos port.

Reporting by Ana Mano Editing by Nick Zieminski