The Santos Port Union of Stevedores prepares to stage a 12-hour strike

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JOC.com, Friday, June 12, 2015 – Shippers using Santos brace for dockworker strikeThis will be the second work stoppage by the union, also known as Sindestiva. On Monday, June 1, workers staged a six-hour stoppage as ships sat at berth. The union is pushing for higher pay and protesting terminal operators’ attempt to use more non-unionized labor.

The group is attempting to persuade fellow unions throughout Brazil to stage a national stoppage, but has had little success with that aim, according to a source at the Federation of Shipping Agencies for Brazil.

The action in Santos has been aimed exclusively at container terminals. Brasil Terminal Portuaria, owned and operated by the terminal arms of the 2M Alliance, and Ecoporto Santos were affected on Monday.

“We hope very much that the ongoing talks will resolve the problem before further action is taken,” Luiz Araujo, the commercial manager for Ecoporto Santos, told JOC.com. Most Santos watchers are pessimistic and believe that the 12-hour stoppage will be quickly followed by an indefinite strike in Santos, if not for all Brazil.

The action planned for next week will target those terminals and three others, but union members are not planning to go on strike at Embraport, the newest box terminal in Santos.

“We are a private terminal on private land, so we are not part of the organized port of Santos. Therefore, we have a different agreement with the Santos port labor unions,” an Embraport spokesperson told JOC.com. “But we will be watching very closely what happens next week and with the negotiations between the other box terminals and Sindestiva, as it will have some bearing on us when we start contract negotiations next year.”

When Embraport,­ located on the left bank of the Port of Santos, opened for business in 2013 it encountered problems with Sindestiva and other unions as it tried to implement a policy of fully relying on its own workforce. A series of vessel boardings and blockades at entry gates led to long and acrimonious talks that finally led to a long-term agreement wherein the terminal agreed to split its labor needs between its own employees and a workers’ pool. That agreement expires next year.

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