May 13, 2016 / 8:02 PM / 2 years ago

Argentine grains port workers back on job after brief strike

BUENOS AIRES, May 13 (Reuters) - A one-day strike at the Rosario grains export hub in Argentina ended on Friday after the government compelled union and company officials to enter into wage negotiations for 15 days, a union leader said.

The strike began at midnight local time and ended around noon after the union agreed to the government mandate for a “reconciliation” period to settle the dispute, said Edgardo Quiroga, an official with the CGT union’s San Lorenzo branch.

“Operations are back to normal,” he said.

Rosario handles about 80 percent of Argentina’s grains exports. San Lorenzo covers the northern districts of the Rosario hub where multinational companies like Bunge Ltd, Cargill and Louis Dreyfus Commodities BV have crushing plants and ports.

The union is seeking to raise the minimum regional monthly wage by 45 percent to 20,015 Argentine pesos ($1,414.49), Quiroga said.

“If we haven’t arrived at a solution once the reconciliation period is over we are going to strike again,” Quiroga added.

Wage negotiations are tough in Argentina because of soaring inflation. Argentina’s government is targeting an inflation rate no higher than 25 percent this year. Private economists expect consumer prices will rise 35 percent.

Argentina is the world’s top exporter of soymeal livestock feed and the third-biggest exporter of raw soybeans, the fourth biggest provider of corn and a leading wheat supplier.

$1 = 14.1500 Argentine pesos Reporting by Maximilian Heath; Writing by Anthony Esposito; Editing by Paul Simao

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