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  • Strikes by port workers began again Thursday.

    Strikes by port workers began again Thursday. | Photo: Reuters

Published 4 January 2019
Opinion

Workers at the port of Valparaiso, who had recently held strikes for over a month, resumed protests citing a breach of previous agreements with Ultraport.

Chilean temporary port workers in Valparaiso resumed strikes Thursday, denouncing the company Ultraport failed to fulfill an agreement reached in December and facilitated by the government, which ended a 36-day-long strike that began on Nov. 16.

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On Thursday morning, labor was halted and workers set up barricades to reject the company's refusal to reinstate 22 colleagues and its lack of compliance with the dates they had agreed on for payment of several benefits the workers demanded, including bonuses and loans.

Y ya transcurridos 13 días de la firma de los acuerdos, exigimos que se cumplan en su totalidad”.

"As workers, we are obliged to denounce these bad practices and we will begin to generate different mobilization milestones to call attention to the company and government authorities. Thirteen days have passed since the signing of the agreements, we demand their total fulfillment," they argued in a formal statement.

"Many of the temporary workers have not been reinstated, therefore the bases are mobilized,” said union leader Francisco Acosta. Furthermore, they claim that lists blocking workers who participated in the protests have not been eliminated and measures to improve working conditions have not been implemented.   

Workers first went on strike on Nov. 16 to demand private companies that operate the docks, including Terminal Pacifico Sur (TPS) and Ultraport, provide more formal contracts, improved working conditions, and bonuses as compensation for temporary workers who have lost their jobs due to a modernization process. The strike ended Dec. 21, after government-mediated talks.

The strike led fruit exports from Valparaiso to fall by 95 percent from the same period last year, according to statistics by  Chile’s Federation of Fruit Producers.

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