Santos Port Workers Occupy Chinese Cargo Vessel

By on February 19, 2013
Zhen Hua at Santos port in Brazil.

First step in protesting government port plan, strike scheduled for Friday

Brazilian workers at Santos Port occupied a Chinese cargo vessel to protest the government’s US$27 billion plan to modernize Brazilian ports.

The government hopes to attract private investors to upgrade ports and overhaul its 20-year-old regulatory framework. Labor unions say the initiative will result in lower wages and undermine their legal safeguards.

The Zhen Hua 10 is loaded with cranes bound for Embraport, a private container terminal owned by Odebrecht and DP World. An Embraport spokeswoman told reporters that  executives were trying to talk to protesters to negotiate an end to the occupation of the ship.

The government is considering a measure that would allow terminal operators to recruit their own labor. Union workers at Santos Port have planned a six-hour walkout on Friday (Feb. 22) in protest of the reform measures and are planning an open-ended, general strike at all ports on March 18 if talks with the government fail.