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Work stoppages at Chilean ports block exports of fruit, copper and wood pulp

Work stoppages at Chilean ports block exports of fruit, copper and wood pulp | Timberland Investment | Scoop.it

A series of fast-spreading port strikes in Chile are blocking exports of copper, fruit and wood pulp and keeping thousands of workers idle.


The stoppage in the world’s top copper-producing nation started in the northern port of Angamos more than two weeks ago, when workers began demanding a 30-minute lunch break and a place to set up a cafeteria. Dock workers in other northern ports have joined in solidarity, causing huge losses for the mining, timber and fruit industries in export-dependent Chile.

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Timber industry: A 'perfect storm' brewing

Timber industry: A 'perfect storm' brewing | Timberland Investment | Scoop.it

South Africa has seen miners’ strikes, the Marikana massacre, vineyards set ablaze in Western Cape farm strikes, and now timber industry experts warn that protests, strikes and violence could beset the sector where the stakes are high, and the working conditions are desperate.


Warning bells are ringing for the forestry industry,with labour experts and forestry insiders saying that this could be the next local sector to suffer protests and strikes, if not violence and asset destruction, unless the worker issues are addressed. Forestry researcher and social assessment specialist Jeanette Clarke recently warned the timber industry that events at Marikana illustrated the potentially disastrous consequences of ignoring ongoing violations of workers’ basic needs and rights.

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Clarke warns that labour instability, coupled with poor worker conditions in the industry, could put timber assets at risk. “The big thing with forests is that they burn, and there are all these fires in the industry. But we have no figures so we don’t know what percentage of these are as a result of actual labour unrest or worker dissatisfaction, but you can be sure that a proportion of them are. It is difficult for forest workers to organise because they are very scattered,” she added.

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