Santos Labor Dispute Delays Cargo

Cargo at Tecon Santos was rolled as a result of industrial action by the Sindicato dos Estivadores do Santos union, according to an article in the Journal of Commerce.

Stevedores from the Sindicato dos Estivadores do Santos union, known as Sindestiva, carried out a 24-hour stoppage that began at 1 p.m. local time Monday and lasted until 1 p.m. Tuesday.

One of the vessels affected was the MSC Barbara, which had been berthed at the Brasil Terminal Portuaria terminal of South America’s biggest port, according to port authority Codesp. A shipagent in Santos and a Codesp source said that the vessel had been delayed for “several hours” and there were reports of OGMO stevedores on board other vessels and causing several delays. Libra Terminais was also affected.

Tecon Santos did not suffer any delays on Monday or Tuesday, but last Saturday, following the first phase of “light protests,” about 30 or so containers were rolled to a later sailing so that the vessel concerned could avoid any delays, a manager at Tecon Santos said.

The reason of the dispute is the amount of work that should be handled by the OGMO casual labor pool, which is more expensive to use than dedicated terminal workers.

Some of the dispute is tied to a recent labor court decision that validated a new agreement to have terminal operators rely on OGMO workers for one-third of ship operations instead of half. Despite this ruling, the leader of Sindestiva, Rodnei Oliveira Da Silva, said that his members, which include the OGMO casual labor pool, had the right to strike.

However, Sopesp, the port operators union for Santos, and its executive president, Jose dos Santos Martins, insist that the unions had signed agreements that made July 1 the start of a second phase in the reduction of the port’s reliance on OGMO labor.

The union had agreed to that gradual phasing out of OGMO, but “powerful vested interests” in Santos were trying to extend the OGMO regime, one terminal manager in Santos said.

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