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Brazil dockers end China ship protest; unions threaten port strike

Published on Feb 20, 2013 10:58 AM

SAO PAULO (REUTERS) - Brazilian dock workers in Santos on Tuesday ended a two-day occupation of a Chinese ship to protest port modernisation plans, as unions threatened a national port strike over the government plan that they fear will cost jobs and cut wages.

About 60 stevedores boarded the Zhen Hua 10 early on Monday, stopping it from unloading cranes manufactured by the Shanghai Zhenhua Heavy Industry. The cranes are to be installed at Embraport, a new US$1.2 billion (S$1.5 billion) private container terminal in Santos that does not use established union procedures to hire workers.

Although the protest was brief, with no perceived impact on Santos port, it gave a taste of what is likely to come as unions gear up to resist a sweeping reform of port regulations. Port workers nationwide plan to walk off the job on Friday and again on Tuesday, Mr Paulo Pereira da Silva, a congressman and president of the umbrella union Forca Sindical told Reuters.

"All the ports in Brazil will be stopped at those moments," he said, adding the workers had not ruled out a prolonged strike.

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