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November 9, 2015

Brazilian Federal Ag Inspectors Threated Resumption of Strike

In addition to a new strike by independent truck drivers, the national association of federal agricultural inspectors will discuss the possibility of resuming their strike/work stoppage at their national meeting to be held in Brasilia on November 9-13. If the delegates approve a strike vote, then a national assembly will be convened immediately to authorize the resumption of the strike.

The inspectors went on strike in September over pay and working conditions, but the strike was suspended on October 2 in order to allow for further negotiations with the Minister of Agriculture. The union and the government reached an agreement on a number of the issues, but the union now feels that the government has not operated in good faith to implement the agreement. The goal of a potential strike would be to put pressure on the government to follow through on its promised agreements.

The biggest concern of the agricultural sector is that a resumption of the strike would first impact meat processors. During the previous work stoppage, meat processing facilities closed down operations due a lack of inspectors. That was the second time in the last six months that their operations were impacted by strikes by other groups. In March of this year, many meat processing facilities closed their doors due to a lack of trucks to transport their products to domestic markets and export facilities.

Grain exporters are also concerned that if the inspectors resume their strike, it could impact grain exports at a time when Brazil is exporting record amounts of corn. Vessels in Brazilian ports are already waiting 43-45 days to load corn, and if the strike resumes, those wait time will surely increase. During the prior work stoppage the impact was uneven. At the Port of Santos, nearly all the inspectors went on strike, while at the Port of Paranagua, less than half of the inspectors walked off the job.