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ECONOMY | 20-05-2021 11:23

Unions demanding vaccines strike at Argentina's soy ports

Trade unions go on strike, the latest in a string of protests by workers demanding vaccination against Covid-19.

Trade unions that are key to Argentina’s US$20 billion-a-year crop export industry have gone on strike, the latest in a string of protests by workers demanding vaccination against Covid-19 as the South American nation grapples with a shortage of jabs.

Skippers, engineers and seamen, who help berth and unberth vessels, and grain inspectors at ports and processing plants will strike this week, shipping agency Nabsa said in emails to clients.

The strikes follow a similar protest last month by marine pilots, who steer ships down the Paraná River, causing congestion on Argentina’s soy waterway. They join workers in other sectors, like bus drivers clamoring for vaccines who rallied last month in Buenos Aires. Argentina is the biggest exporter of soy meal and soy oil.

Powerful trade unions are flexing their muscles just as coronavirus cases in Argentina peak and the government struggles to source jabs following a scandal in which officials and their friends were vaccinated out of turn.

Just 18 percent of Argentina’s 45 million population has received at least one dose, according to data compiled by La Nación newspaper.

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by Jonathan Gilbert, Bloomberg

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