Strike by port workers in Chile and strong demands against the government of Gabriel Boric

Strike by port workers in Chile and strong demands against the government of Gabriel Boric
Strike by port workers in Chile and strong demands against the government of Gabriel Boric

File image of a port worker checking a shipment of copper in the Chilean port of Valparaíso.

(From Santiago, Chile) The Port Union of Chile – which has a presence in 26 ports and integrates more than 6,000 workers -, announced a national strike after accusing the Government of not fulfilling promises regarding labor and security, triggering concern in the export sphere. The strike will take place in three shifts from 08:00 hrs. this Thursday, April 4.

The organization questioned the lack of action by the government of President Gabriel Boric in the face of unemployment caused by the decarbonization in Tocopilla.

“Less than a month ago we reported that due to the decarbonization of the country, around 100 port workers from Tocopilla there were unemployed. On that occasion, we called on the Interministerial Committee for Just Socio-Ecological Transition to meet with the port workers and seek a structural solution that is nothing other than a true just transition,” they explained in a statement from the Port Union, according to a note from The counter.

They also accused that various port terminals they find each other abandoned: “There are public port terminals scattered throughout the coastline, completely abandoned, without competitive capacity and without work. The most urgent case is the south of Chile and must be addressed with a strategic sense within the framework of the National Port Policy and the General Port Law.

The lack of progress in the creation of a “General Port Law” is also mentioned: ““We have been one of each demanding a General Law of Ports. President Boric committed to moving forward. To date, although work tables have been installed, in practice, there is no progress in a regulatory framework that ends the labor abuses in the ports.”

In terms of safety and health, the situation is equally critical: “In recent months we have lost seven colleagues in work accidents”. The Port Union also detailed the difficulties faced by sick workers due to bureaucracy: “In the case of occupational diseases, sick port workers are trapped in a constant triangulation between mutual societies, companies and various institutions that participate in this regulation, without finding satisfactory solutions.”

At the end of their statement, the national ports assured that this is only the beginning of a cycle of upward mobilizations: “When President Boric took office he made commitments and promised an unfulfilled agenda until now. The Government is politically responsible for these mobilizations. We demand responses based on planning and not improvisation, coming from authorities and officials who understand how the most strategic sector of the country’s economy works,” they closed.

For their part, Frutas de Chile, the fruit exporting union, expressed their concern about the impact of the strike: “Chile is a country with an export tradition, therefore, any problem that affects the normal functioning at any point in the chain “Logistics, especially ports, threatens our country’s shipments to the world.”

Underlining the urgency of maintaining the export flow, especially of fresh fruits, the organization that brings together fruit exporters called on the authorities, ports and workers “to resume dialogue and reach agreements for the benefit of the entire country.”

Finally, the president of Frutas de Chile observed that to date 1,532,530 tons of fruits have been exported to the world. Of this amount, 1,420,677 tons have left by sea.

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