A group of 11 unions that represent port workers issued a statement yesterday announcing a new work stoppage at Argentina’s ports. The workers are asking to be designated as essential workers, eligible for vaccination against the coronavirus.
A strike last week created congestion at the Port of Rosario, backing up agricultural exports for the country during the harvesting season for soybeans and corn. About 80% of Argentina’s grain exports are shipped through Rosario.
The government has so far rejected the port workers’ demands; the only labour groups given priority for vaccines have been healthcare workers, police and educators. Efforts to slow the spread of Covid were stepped up last week as the number of cases and deaths were on the rise; until the end of May, non-essential businesses and schools are closed and there is a nightly curfew on non-essential workers. The country’s vaccination campaign is rolling out slowly – only about 5% of Argentinians have been fully vaccinated.
Meanwhile, Brazilian Minister of Infrastructure Tarcisio Gomes de Freitas said his country has included dockworkers as a priority group in its national immunisation plan. “The first doses will begin to be distributed this Tuesday the 25th and then we will be able to begin this vaccination,” said the minister.