Argentina hit by double port strikes at height of grain harvest

BUENOS AIRES, May 31 (Reuters) – Private port grains inspectors in Argentina started a 48-hour wage strike on Wednesday, after government health inspectors called a three-day work stoppage a day earlier, also over pay.

Wednesday’s strike by the URGARA inspectors’ union will halt movement of soymeal and other grains byproducts while the work stoppage announced on Tuesday by government sanitary inspection unit Senasa halted movement of soybeans and other raw crops.

The country is the world’s top supplier of soymeal livestock feed as well as a major supplier of corn and soybeans. The strikes are hitting ports while Argentine growers are harvesting soy and corn for the 2016-17 season.

Wage strikes are common in Argentina, where unions struggle to secure pay packages that can keep up with high inflation.

“URGARA started a strike this morning. Since you do not have grain receivers, you can not unload incoming grains or inspect the merchandise that goes un board export cargo ships,” said Guillermo Wade, head of the port operators chamber in Argentina’s main agricultural port of Rosario.

“The two measures, Senasa health inspectors and URGARA, are having an effect at the same time,” added Wade.

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