SANTIAGO – Around 1,500 workers in the port of San Antonio, one of Chile’s busiest export terminals, walked off the job again due to non-compliance with the terms of an accord ending a three-week-long strike, union leaders said Tuesday.
The understanding, brokered by the government, called for payment of a bonus, the reimbursement of striking workers and a permanent negotiating table to discuss further workers’ demands.
“The government signs an accord and commits the companies to take workers back on the same terms they had before going on strike, and that is what they are not complying with,” Raul Gonzalez, secretary of the FTP union, said.
The Puerto Central operating concession in San Antonio “changed the rules of the game when it said it will not hire certain people nor will it sign an agreement with a certain group of people.”
The resumption of the strike sparked an immediate reaction among Chile’s agricultural exporters, who estimate their losses from the work stoppage at roughly $1 billion.
The president of the National Agriculture Society, Patricio Crespo, said that the owner of Chile’s ports is the government, and so called on it to review Puerto Central’s concession in San Antonio.
The FTP’s Gonzalez called on the government to demand respect for the tripartite agreement signed on Saturday at the negotiating table.
“We call on the government in its role as guarantor to oblige the companies who signed this accord to fully comply with it. The workers have respected it and have established a truce. If the accord is not complied with, the authorities must determine who is responsible and sanction those executives,” he said.