The strike that began two weeks ago in response to changes in worker policy continues in Puerto Central in San Antonio, impeding fruit handling and other traffic in and out of the port and resulting in what the workers spokesperson, Sergio Vargas, says is a 30-40 percent drop in normal operations. The port was partially closed on Monday, April 8th as workers protested pay and work conditions. Chilean port managing company Ultramar, in an attempt to comply with government legislation mandating a 45-hour work week limit, cut the lunch-break period for its port workers across the country, prompting the strike.
The strike began with workers at Angamos, the nation’s northern mining capital, and these were joined by workers in over 10 other ports across Chile, picking up the cause to demand better conditions from the port management company. While most of the ports have resumed operation, over a thousand workers are still on strike in the San Antonio port, and Angamos union head Richard Orellana told Reuters that port workers would rejoin the San Antonio workers in the strike if no deal is reached by Tuesday.
Ports are still recovering from the congestion caused by the strike, not to mention the major economic losses suffered in exports. Codelco, the state mining company, resumed copper shipments on Monday, after reporting that the 60,000 tons of copper prevented from leaving the country throughout the duration of the strike resulted in revenue losses of over $500 million.