Market News & Headlines >> Argentine Port Workers Strike Over Covid-19 Vaccinations

Argentina's grains exports were paralyzed on Wednesday after port workers launched a strike over what they described as a lack of COVID-19 vaccinations among members, the head of the Port and Maritime Activities chamber told Reuters News Service by telephone.

"All shipping is stopped," Guillermo Wade, general manager of the CAPyM chamber, told Reuters. The strike comes during the high export season as Argentine growers are currently harvesting corn and soybeans.

In a statement, the port workers unions said the strike would run until late on Friday. Earlier the labor groups said they would end the work stoppage on Thursday, but they extended the strike due to what they called government inaction over their demands. Dock workers who prepare ships to sail were among those on strike, along with tugboat captains and sailors who guide cargo ships to and from port, according to the statement. In addition, dock-side grains inspectors represented by the powerful Urgara union said on Wednesday they were joining the work stoppage.

Port workers are "essential" to the economy, and thus entitled to be vaccinated, the union statement said, adding that four workers had died of COVID-19 over the last week. Argentina confirmed a record 745 deaths from the virus nationwide on Tuesday. A spokesman for Argentina’s health ministry did not respond to a request from Reuters  for comment on the unions' demands.