Protesters Occupy Chinese Ship in Port of Santos

By MarEx 2013-02-19 11:43:00

Protesting Brazilians occupied a Chinese ship, as union leaders vowed to intensify protests if the government refuses to change its plan to restructure ports.

Labor federation Forca Sindical boarded the Zhen Hua 10 ship at the port of Santos. The vessel was carrying equipment for use in the construction of a terminal at the port by Empresa Brasileira de Terminais (Embraport).

Embraport has requested the immediate liberation of the Zhen Hua 10.

Port unions in Brazil are upset over the government’s plans to relinquish control of as many as 95 terminals to private operators. Officials have been instructed to resist union pressure and continue with the program, which intends to attract US$27.6 billion in private port investments and help stimulate an economy that grew at the slowest pace among major emerging markets last year, reports Bloomberg Businessweek.

Talks between officials and labor union representatives are scheduled to resume on Friday. While government officials have said the plans will improve ports by increasing competition, labor leaders have said the initiative will lead to firings and worsening work conditions.

Brazil’s government will continue negotiations with workers to avoid a strike and claim to be open to ideas from workers regarding port regulation.