BUENOS AIRES (Reuters) – Argentina’s government on Thursday ordered oilseed workers to end an hours-old strike over the amount of taxes taken out of their pay, as political and financial uncertainty rises ahead of Nov. 14 mid-term elections, a union official said.
Agricultural exports from the grains powerhouse country have been slowed by a drought that has lowered the amount of cargo that can by carried from Argentina’s Rosario grains hub.
The SOEA oilseed workers’ union went on strike Thursday morning, putting the inflow of export dollars at further risk at a crucial time for the government, which needs to bolster an economic recovery as voters get hit by inflation running at more than 52% per year.
“Everything is operating normally,” Daniel Succi, the SOEA’s secretary, told Reuters. He said the government ordered labor and management back to the table to hammer out a deal over how much money would be taken out of paychecks for taxes.
Argentina is a major corn and wheat exporter as well as the world’s top supplier of soymeal livestock feed, used to fatten hogs and poultry from Europe to Southeast Asia.
Succi said negotiations would restart on Monday. The protest by workers began informally on Wednesday at a soyoil plant in northern Rosario, with a strike beginning on Thursday morning.
The union says the companies were taking too much money out of workers’ paychecks for the purpose of paying taxes.
Reporting by Maximilian Heath, writing by Hugh Bronstein; Editing by Cynthia Osterman