Chilean port reels from crippling strikes
A strike that began on November 16 has crippled the Chilean Port of Valparaíso. By the end of a 10th day of strikes, with most of the terminals effectively blockaded by striking casual workers, more than 20,000 containers had been diverted and revenue of $3.5m had been lost, with 13 vessels switching to other ports.
As the strike rolls on, Daniel Fernández, president of the Chilean Maritime Port Organisation (Camport), has stressed that Valparaíso “is losing millions of dollars”. He urged the striking dockers to end their blockade and return to the negotiating table to prevent the strike having catastrophic effects on the local economy.
Deputy Finance Minister, Francisco Moreno, also acknowledged the government's concern and urged dock workers and employers to keep talking, pointing out that the stoppage is damaging the country’s international trade.
Transport Minister Gloria Hutt has voiced her concern over Chile’s ability to effectively export much of its fruit harvest if things do not quickly return to normal.
Those casual workers linked to Terminal Cerros de Valparaíso (TCVAL) finally accepted an offer put forward by the concessionaire and went back to work on November 30th. However, dockers still refuse to return to work at Terminal Pacífico Sur (TPS).
The main beneficiary of the strikes has been the neighbouring rival Port of San Antonio, itself often riven by strikes in the past.
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