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Containers at port. The two weeks-old exports blockage has finally been lifted. (Photo: Stock File)

Union lifts fish exports blockade

  (ARGENTINA, 6/11/2010)
The foreign shipment of fishery products from the port of Mar del Plata, Buenos Aires, will begin returning to normal on Thursday, following the lifting of the blockade started two weeks ago by the Union of Maritime Workers (SOMU). 
 
The union had decided to hinder the movement of fish as a means to demand the enforcement of collective bargaining agreements. 
 
"Specifically, we ask the restructuring of basic pay of workers on board in all fleets. It is not in compliance with the payment of the minimum wage for our industry," said SOMU general secretary, Enrique Omar Suarez this week, reports Pescare.
 
The lifting of the blockade was reported by SOMU and ratified by the mayor of Mar del Plata, Gustavo Pulti, and the  local secretary of production, Horacio Tettamanti. 
 
Union leaders decided to allow the loading of containers with fish from 10 June in order to avoid economic sanctions. 
 
In addition, it opens a possibility of dialogue between the parties, as the federal judge of Court No. 4 of Mar del Plata, Alfredo Lopez, had resolved to force SOMU to refrain from any action that would prevent shipments abroad. 
 
The court order stated that SOMU refrain "from any action that directly or indirectly prevents the export of fishery products from the companies belonging to the Chamber of Argentine Fisheries (CAIPA) on pain of submitting the paperwork to Criminal Justice and implement fines in the case of infringement." 
 
The representatives of CAIP and the Argentine Fishing Enterprises Council (CEPA) and the Chamber of Vessel Owners had warned that continuing with the boycott, the union was liable to financial penalties of about ARS 100,000 (USD 25,500) per day.
 
"We must stop conceiving relations between employer and employee in a savage way. Understood this, we have always been and we will be willing to discuss issues that may be required," said the president of CEPA, Oscar Fortunato. 
 
Undersecretary for Fisheries and Aquaculture of the Nation, Norberto Yauhar confirmed that the employers agreed to work on a short-term plan to reconstruct the dialogue between the parties by the collective bargaining agreements. 
 
"Tomorrow [Thursday 10 June] they will attend a hearing convened by the Ministry of Labour's Office and as a first step I have arranged an observer on behalf of the Undersecretary of Fisheries. I think the conditions are correct for, given from of this dialogue, a satisfactory agreement between the parties within the next two or three weeks, both SOMU and the businesses," said Yauhar.
 
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