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Customs employees end strike

Chilean salmon for export. (Photo: AquaChile)

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The indefinite strike kept by workers of the National Customs Service finally ended and the customs service of the Santiago International Airport resumed its activities.
The conflict between the workers grouped in the National Association of Customs Officers (ANFACH) and the Government lasted nine days, with the balance of huge losses in the importing and exporting sector.
According to estimates by the Association of Salmon Industry AG (SalmonChile), losses for the national salmon industry reached about USD 30 million.
The agreement that ended the strike was reached after a meeting of representatives of the Customs Service with Deputy Finance Secretary Alejandro Micco.
Marcelo Reyes, leader of the ANFACH, described the agreement as "historic". He said they managed to obtain a plant increase of 50 per cent so that all the hired staff who had a precarious position have now become part of that plant, Aqua reported.
The parties agreed to gradually increase the Customs plant from 1,665 to 2,300 workers by 2018.
While SalmonChile recognized the legitimacy of the Customs officials’ claims, it regretted that the conflict has caused the loss of salmon and "affected the image, credibility, trust and customers, which is ultimately very difficult to recover, eventually generating a loss of competitiveness of Chile as a global supplier."
According to SalmonChile vice president, Carlos Vial, as the conflict worsened, maneuverability was lost, "meaning that the fish can not be harvested and causing a serious health risk that can affect the credibility of our business" .
For his part, Industrial Development Society (SOFOFA) President Hermann von Mühlenbrock said: "The aim of boosting the Customs Service is very laudable. However, what concerns us are the serious consequences this type of measures generate in the country and its companies, since they strongly deteriorate our image abroad."

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