¡Nos tocan a uno, nos tocan a todos! Solidaridad portuaria internacional entre Chile y Estados Unidos

Hoy más que nunca, los conflictos laborales atraviesan fronteras. El sector marítimo y portuario ha sido históricamente sensible a esta realidad, organizándose internacionalmente para defender los intereses de los y las trabajadoras. Clara muestra de esto es la acción en solidaridad organizada por los estibadores de Iquique, agrupados en la Federación de Trabajadores Portuarios de Iquique (FETRAPI) el pasado viernes 20 de febrero, que en el inicio de las faenas del primer turno sostuvieron una charla sobre el conflicto que tienen actualmente sus hermanos estibadores de la Costa del Pacífico de Estados Unidos, organizados en el Sindicato Internacional de Estibadores y Almacenes (ILWU). Además de reunirse para analizar la situación de sus compañeros estadounidenses, se desplegó un lienzo para demostrar que los portuarios de Chile están atentos al conflicto que ya lleva 9 meses, afirmando que se tomarán medidas de solidaridad internacional si no se llega a un acuerdo que cumpla las demandas de los trabajadores.

Este conflicto enfrenta a la Asociación Marítima del Pacífico (PMA), organización que reúne al empresariado que opera las navieras y los 29 terminales portuarios de la Costa Oeste, incluyendo Los Angeles, Long Beach, Oakland, Tacoma y Seattle, y a los trabajadores de ILWU con respecto al acuerdo marco que regula las condiciones de trabajo de 20.000 estibadores. El anterior acuerdo caducó el 1 de junio del 2014, y desde entonces las negociaciones fueron escalando hasta un punto muerto a fines del mismo año.

El aumento desproporcionado de la carga que llega a los puertos (de 296 toneladas en 2009 a 340 en 2013, un 43,5% de los contenedores que llegan a Estados Unidos, representando un 12,5% de su Producto Interior Bruto), la tercerización de los chasis (plataformas necesarias para transportar los contenedores), la escasez de choferes de camiones para transportar dicha carga y una negativa de las empresas a negociar un programa de capacitación para manejo de equipos peligrosos, ha llevado a una sobrecarga de los puertos, siendo la principal razón para las dificultades de descarga. Junto con esto, desde 2007 se ha producido una disminución en la cantidad de trabajadores portuarios (de 14,279 en 2007 a casi 13,600 en el 2013), a lo que se suman las primeras iniciativas de las empresas de automatizar los terminales, que eliminaría aún más puestos de trabajo. En este contexto, desde noviembre del 2014, y ante la intransigencia del gremio, ILWU ha llevado a cabo una serie de tácticas de presión que en el mes de febrero de este año llegaron a paralizar la descarga en los principales terminales del Pacífico. Aunque la intervención de la Casa Blanca a través de su Ministro del Trabajo ha permitido un acuerdo tentativo entre ILWU y PMA este viernes 20 de febrero, todavía debe ser ratificado en el sindicato, que lleva todas las negociaciones a las bases antes de firmar el contrato colectivo.

En Chile, esta situación ha afectado a la exportación de fruta, que tiene como uno de sus principales clientes a Estados Unidos. El gremio de exportadores, FEDEFRUTA, ha reconocido una disminución del 25% de la exportación de fruta a los puertos de la Costa Pacífico con respecto a la temporada anterior. No cabe duda de que esto impactará en los trabajadores y trabajadoras agrícolas en Chile. Por ello, la acción de los portuarios de Iquique debe ser un recordatorio de que la solidaridad de clase no se trata de gestos estéticos, sino de avances hacia la construcción de lazos internacionales que dejen claro que, en puertos, ciudades y campos, si nos tocan a uno, nos tocan a todos.

por Pablo Abufom

 

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