As part of SOMU's measures, shipping companies are requested not to load containers from Mar del Plata. (Photo: Stock File/FIS)
Fish exports hampered by union
The chambers of commerce and shipowners of Mar de Plata reported a new boycott from the Maritime Workers Union (SOMU) that paralyzes fish exports from the city.
In a statement, the Chamber of Fisheries Industry from Argentina (Caipa), the Argentine Fisheries Business Council (CEPA) and the Chamber of Deep Sea Fishing Vessel Owners (Caabpa) rejected the union’s actions, which put pressure on shipping companies so that they do not load fish or shellfish from Mar del Plata.
The measure was the result of a wage claim. The union is demanding an increase of 30 per cent already received by other unions in the fisheries sector of the city.
"We have given notice to all carriers for them not to load containers belonging to fishing companies from Mar del Plata because they would be forced to land them in Buenos Aires," said Néstor María, Secretary General of SOMU in Mar del Plata, in a statement to Revista Puerto.
The union also demands that the wage increase should be included in full in the paychecks of staff members and that a portion of that increase should not be accepted as non-remunerative.
It is not the first time the union makes such protests. Last year it put into practice a similar measure that prompted the intervention of the Federal Court. SOMU was ordered to release foreign trade moves under penalty of criminal prosecution of its general secretary in case of default.
SOMU is one of the major maritime unions that have not reached an agreement on salary increases for 2011 with employers yet. The other one that is still in negotiations with the fleet is the Captains’ Association.
In a statement, chambers of commerce expressed "concern about the implementation of an extremely severe measure that threatens exports amounting to USD 1 billion annually and generates consequences for all personnel employed in the industry."
They also complain that shipping companies have received threats of retaliation provided they load goods from Mar del Plata.
The paper stresses that most of the fishing companies are going through a difficult time because of the rise in internal costs and the market crisis.
"So far this year the port of Mar del Plata has had at least eight blockades of their land access routes because of demonstrations of various kinds that for long periods of time have hindered the loading movement, refueling of ships, logistics activities and the export and import of merchandise," added the chambers in a statement.
- Augmented salary for sailors in Mar del Plata
By Silvina Corniola
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