May 28, 2015 / 6:18 PM / 2 years ago

Argentine soyoil union optimistic on nearing deal to end strike

BUENOS AIRES, May 28 (Reuters) - The head of an Argentine soy crushers' union expressed optimism on Thursday that a salary agreement was near and would end its strike, which has affected the key Rosario soy market.

The wage strike by the Soyoil Workers Federation, which represents about 20 percent of crushing workers in the world's No. 1 soyoil exporter, began about three weeks ago in the middle of an expected record harvest season.

Union head Daniel Yofra told Reuters he thought a resolution was close as he headed into the labor ministry in Buenos Aires for government-mediated discussions with soy companies' management.

"We are optimistic about negotiations," he said. "The only thing we will need to see is how the agreement is established."

Tough pay talks are common in Argentina, as workers negotiate wages in line with one of the world's highest inflation rates, privately estimated at around 35 percent.

According to the union, it had already agreed to a 36 percent wage rise with soy companies, but the government considered that too high.

The strike initially only affected smaller ports in southern Rosario, but since Tuesday, the union has been blockading larger terminals, such as those run by Bunge Ltd and Cargill , in northern Rosario. (Reporting by Maximilian Heath; Writing by Rosalba O'Brien; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn)

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