Inspection workers at Argentina’s ports began a three-day strike on Wednesday, shutting down the bulk of export activity in one of the world’s top grains exporters.
Workers at Senasa, Argentina’s phytosanitary inspection unit failed to reach a labour agreement with the government ahead of a Tuesday deadline and will strike throughout the day on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, the union statements said.
A Senasa spokesman also confirmed the strike.
The ports would likely be unable to operate over the weekend, Guillermo Wade, head of an industry group representing port operators, said in an emailed statement. One port in the key grains exporting province of Santa Fe, Villa Constitucion, would remain open since workers belong to a different union.
Argentina is the world’s top exporter of soybean oil, and the third-largest exporter of both soybeans and corn.
Senasa is required to inspect all grain exports, but inspects oilseed derivatives only when requested as a condition of sale, Wade said. That means some exports of soybean oil could continue.