With Chile’s strikes at least hopefully suspended until May, we reveal the country’s fruit exports this month in numbers.
Chilean port companies and workers reached an agreement at the to end a 22-day strike — but strikes broke-out once more at San Antonio.
Fresh stoppages late Monday night have threatened an agreement reached between port companies and workers which sought to end three weeks of strikes that hit exporters with multimillion dollar losses. Workers hailed the agreement — which came after 14-hours of government-mediated discussions — as a significant victory. Under the deal, more than 6,500 port workers may be eligible to receive remuneration.
“Finally, we’ve reached an agreement, just as we said we would, now we will raise the movement,” Sergio Vargas, president of the Port Workers’ Front (FTP) told Puertos de Chile. Exporters received the news with enthusiasm, however lamented the losses and delays caused by the extended protest.
Fruit exporters were particularly hard hit — the strikes came at the height of fruit production and much of their produce was spoiled or sold at lower prices in the domestic market. “Considering labour and transportation, lost and devalued fruit, we’ve seen losses across the chain close to US$ 200 million,” Ronald Bown, president of the Chilean Fruit Exporters Association (Asoex), told The Santiago Times. “And to all of this one must add the damage to our image, credibility and confidence among our clients, which will encourage them to seek other suppliers.”
Port companies committed themselves to awarding US$ 2,730 to all workers who met the requirements of at least six months of activity and a minimum of 18 shifts per month, according to Mundo Maritimo. The retroactive payment is intended to remunerate half-an-hour lunch breaks dating between 2005 to 2013.
“This amount will be paid during February,” the port companies stated in their official announcement published in 24 Horas on Saturday.
The dispute over lunch hours lingers, however, in San Antonio — the country’s major fruit shipping port — and Mejillones — a key copper port — and tensions arose due to the alleged firing of workers in the two ports. “A few problems remain. While we are still working all shifts, union leaders are meeting with port company officials,” Jorge Bustos, leader of United Port Workers (TPU), told The Santiago Times, adding that his organization was “looking into” claims workers had been fired for their participation in the strikes. Port workers in San Antonio held a meeting until late Monday on whether they will strike once more, with local media reporting that at least two terminals decided to resume strikes.
During earlier strikes, violent clashes between workers and Carabineros — Chile’s uniformed police — occurred in both Mejillones and San Antonio, among other ports. Injuries were sustained on both sides. According to the Soy San Antonio website, seven San Antonio strikers were detained by Carabineros and held in custody for six hours on Friday.
The port strikes have not only impacted the national economy, but also caused losses in neighbouring Bolivia. The landlocked nation relies heavily on Chilean ports for its exports and is currently challenging Chile in the International Court of Justice (ICJ) to regain access to the ocean it lost in the War of the Pacific (1879-1883).
The Bolivian government stated Monday the country has lost an estimated US$ 30 million with hundreds of Bolivian truckers unable to unload cargo due to the strike. “The mistreatment that Bolivia suffered in the port of Iquique because of Chile is indignant and unacceptable,” Bolivian Productive Development Minister Teresa Morales told Los Tiempos.
In the wake of the agreement Chilean Fruit Growers Federation (Fedefruta) President Cristián Allendes said that exporters still faced significant challenges as a result of the dispute between workers and port owners. “For us this is not over, now we will have to explain why, for reasons beyond our control,
Publication date: 1/29/2014
Location: San Antonio, TX
Job Summary: Leads efforts to elevate our portfolio of existing and new Bakery products with development of innovative and distinctive items as well as improve upon our everyday items. H-E-B Bakery products will be forefront of bakery industry flavor and format trends. Utilize bakery expertise and commercialization experience to develop proprietary items in scratch, self manufacturing and 3rd party, vendor-supplied items.
Essential Functions / Process Responsibilities include the following; other duties may be assigned as necessary
-Constantly strives to keep us ahead of ingredient, flavor and product trends
-Understands cutting edge trends and informs procurement team and develops items to capitalize on those trends.
-Develop new products- formula and prototype
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-Delivers tangible results in the form of distinctive item sales
-Moves products along product development process stages from concept to customer.
-Executes agreed-upon project list and time-tables
-Sets priorities and realistic timelines
-Creates and deploys store tools to implement and execute successful new product offerings (Train, Visual Training Aids, store support)
-Gives insight and recommendations on equipment needs
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-Seamlessly prepare to move from prototype to full scale production (In-store made, San Antonio Bakery and vendor-supplied)
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Education and Experience preferred
-Culinary Degree or 3 yrs experience as a professional chef
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Key Competencies preferred
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“This is war” is the response of a Chilean union leader to police occupation of the port of San Antonio.
A Chilean port union leader claims to have a safeguard for export fruit during strikes – he calls it “refrigeration”.
SAN ANTONIO, TX — More than 400 people packed the Westin La Canterra Resort Aug. 7-9, here, for the 2013 Texas Produce Convention, co-hosted by the Texas International Produce Association, Texas Citrus Mutual and the Texas Vegetable Association.
Attendance was the highest by far in a decade, according to TIPA President Bret Erickson. The boost was due in part to a focus on family fun (the traditional casino night was replaced by an awards banquet and concert by country music star Rick Trevino), but likely even more by an agenda loaded with high-priority issues that have affect Texans, ranging from the state’s water woes amidst an ongoing (and potentially worsening) drought to new and pending reform measures in international food safety, labor, immigration and healthcare.
Keynote speaker Tom Stenzel, president of United Fresh Produce Association, told attendees that produce consumption among women ages 18-45 has, surprisingly, actually dropped by 1 percent in the last decade.
“That’s stagnation,” Stenzel said. “Those are the kinds of issues we need to address as an industry.”
Closer to home, Texas’ water worries are likely to continue and could get worse. About 80 percent of the state is under voluntary or mandatory water-use restrictions, and aquifer levels are near all-time lows. The ongoing drought that has plagued the state for the better part of three years shows little sign of abating and could potentially eclipse the all-time worst drought in Texas’ recorded history, which parched the Lone Star State from 1950-57.
While “2011 was the single hottest and driest year since records started being kept in the state of Texas, the 1950s is still the record because of its duration,” Homer Tuck of the Texas Water Conservation Board told attendees during a panel discussion. “If conditions keep up like this much longer, we may have a new drought record. Things are not good on the water side.”
“We’ve been lucky to have decent rains in parts of the state during the first part of the summer — west Texas was wet for the first time in ages — but the 12-month map [ended] July 30 is still exceptionally dry on top of two years of drought before that,” added state climatologist John Nielsen-Gammon of Texas A&M University. “Since 1895, there have been 14 droughts of multiple-year duration, and it’s going to be just a few more months before we’ve outlasted those except 1950-1957 — and this could rival that one potentially. We continue to set records for lack of water in reservoirs, unfilled capacity is larger than it ever has been in the middle of the summer. The good news is levels have been relatively stable, but at near-record lows: about 65 percent full.”
The long-term forecast does not offer much hope that weather patterns will change “for a long time, unfortunately,” Nielsen-Gammon said.
The state is developing a variety of initiatives, based primarily around conservation and augmented by potential new reservoirs, to make sure Texas has enough water to meet demands for growers and its booming population for the next 50 years.
“We’ve got some challenges but we’ve got some opportunities if we can solve this moving forward,” said former Texas Vegetable Association President J. Carnes of Winter Garden Produce in Uvalde, TX.
In other convention news, Bernie Thiel of Sunburst Farms in Lubbock, TX, received this year’s Texas Vegetable Association Award of Merit while the Texas Citrus Mutual Special Award went to Earl Neuhaus of Neuhaus & Co. in Weslaco, TX.
The Texas International Produce Association 2013 annual convention opened Aug. 7 at the Westin La Canterra Resort in San Antonio, TX, and continues through Aug. 9.
The agenda is loaded with high-priority issues that affect Texans, ranging from the state’s water woes amidst an ongoing drought to international food safety, labor and immigration reform.
Here, United Fresh President Tom Stenzel converses with customs broker Philip Garcia of Phillip Garcia U.S. Customs Brokerage in Hidalgo, TX, following Stenzel’s keynote address about changes facing the industry. (Photo by Chip Carter)