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Chilean gov’t brokers accord to end dockworkers strike

The leader of striking dockworkers in the Chilean port of Valparaiso, Pablo Klimpel, signs an accord to end the walkout during a meeting at the Labor Ministry in Santiago on Friday, Dec. 21. EFE-EPA/Alberto Valdes

The leader of striking dockworkers in the Chilean port of Valparaiso, Pablo Klimpel, signs an accord to end the walkout during a meeting at the Labor Ministry in Santiago on Friday, Dec. 21. EFE-EPA/Alberto Valdes

EFE

Representatives of port operator Terminal Pacifico Sur and on-call dockworkers in Chile’s main Pacific port of Valparaiso signed an agreement here Friday ending a 35-day walkout.

Labor Minister Nicolas Monckeberg and Transport Minister Gloria Hutt were involved in the negotiations.

The Valparaiso stevedores voted to settle for a package equivalent to roughly $2,900 per worker.

“We have been 30 days extensively dedicating ourselves to trying to find points of agreement between the expectations of the workers and the disposition of the company,” Hutt said.

Cargo and passenger operations in the port of Valparaiso should soon return to normal, she said.

“We will be lifting the strike at the end of the second shift (on Friday),” dockworkers leader Pablo Klimpel told reporters, adding that the mobilization had succeeded in raising awareness of the precarious nature of his members’ employment.

Not covered by the minimum-wage law, the on-call stevedores are hired for one shift at a time, receive no benefits and have no legal right to bargain collectively.

Klimpel apologized to residents of Valparaiso for the disturbances arising from the strike and the workers’ protests, which often led to confrontations with Chile’s militarized national police.


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