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Dockworkers in Chile paralyse ports ahead of broader nationwide strike

SANTIAGO, CHILE - NOVEMBER 19: Demonstrators take cover as clashing with riot police during a protest against President Sebastian Piñera on November 19, 2019 in Santiago, Chile. Representatives from several left-wing parties presented today a motion to initiate impeachment against Piñera, who had acknowledged excess police force used in protests. According to official reports, 23 people died including five by military and police forces. At least 230 lost sight in one eye. Chile undergoes a social and political crisis with continuous protests and looting since October 18, when a raise in the subway fare triggered rage of population. Demonstrators demand improvements in basic services and benefits, including pensions, health, and education. (Photo by Marcelo Hernandez/Getty Images)

PortandTerminal.com, November 27, 2019

Dockworkers are on strike in Chile as nationwide mass protests against inequality and social conditions enter their sixth week. Ports are feeling the pinch.

ANTOFAGASTA, CHILE – Members of the Chilean Dockworkers Union began a 48-hour strike on Monday morning, paralysing operations at 24 ports up and down the country’s 6,435km (4,000-mile) Pacific coastline. Education, health, transport, public sector and other labour unions were scheduled to strike on Tuesday.

Security forces launch teargas at Chilean protestors who have entered their sixth week of protests. 26 people have been killed.

There have been numerous strikes by Chilean port workers since widespread protests were sparked on Oct. 18. The protests had originally been against a now-suspended metro-fare rise, but have widened to reflect people’s anger at inequality and poor wages, health care and pensions.

Chile has been gripped by protests against high living costs and inequality for weeks now. The protests have grown increasingly violent. At least 26 people have been killed, 2,000 have been injured and more than 5,000 have been arrested in the worst unrest to hit the country in decades.

Due to the protests and the U.S.-China trade war, the ports of San Antonio and Valparaiso – which handle over 60% of Chile’s total exports – are expected a sharp year-on-year drop in volumes for the rest of the year.

San Antonio had been forecast to move 1.9m TEU containers this year, but that figure has now been cut by 13% to 1.65 TEU.

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