BUENOS AIRES, Oct 14 (Reuters) - Argentine authorities on
Wednesday ended a less-than-24-hour wage strike by the
Federation of Oilseeds Workers that had temporarily halted local
soy processing at plants owned by major shippers Cargill, Bunge
, Glencore and Dreyfus.
The Labor Ministry ordered the union back to work, with the
government set to sit down with company and workers'
representatives next week, the federation said in a statement.
"The measure dictated by the Labor Ministry ended the strike
at 1 p.m. (1600 GMT) today and the holding of a hearing on
October 20," the union said in a statement. The work stoppage,
affecting some parts of Argentina's key grains hub of Rosario,
began at 2 p.m. on Tuesday.
The government often steps in to end strikes and force
negotiations when work stoppages affect vital national
industries. Argentina is the world's top exporter of soymeal
livestock feed, used to fatten hogs, cattle and poultry from
Europe to Southeast Asia.
The strike came as the country, suffering from a recession
and a debt crunch, desperately needs export dollars to help
replenish central bank reserves strained by a dollar-selling
campaign designed to prop up the swooning local peso.
The government this month reduced export taxes in a bid to
spur selling of soybeans, the country's main cash crop, and
bolster trade. But farmers have said they will keep hoarding
crops due to foreign exchange uncertainty.
The spread between the official and black market exchange
rates has escalated to 117%, hurting farmers who get paid at the
official rate while paying their expenses on the black market.
Work stoppages are common in Argentina, where employers are
hard-pressed to offer wages that keep up with inflation, which
the government expects at 29% next year.
(Reporting by Hugh Bronstein and Maximilin Heath; Editing by
Steve Orlofsky and Sandra Maler)