Dock workers at San Pedro, one of Côte d’Ivoire’s two main ports, had stopped work in an ongoing strike from 31 October to 6 November after dockworkers refused to unload trucks which left exporters unable to transport Cocoa.
According to Amidou Sylla, one of the strike leaders, the port workers fully resumed work on Monday. The workers reached an agreement with exporters, the regulator and authorities at the end of last week to increase the fee per sack above the previous 50 CFA offer.
The dockers had asked exporters to increase their wages from 30 CFA francs to 105 CFA francs ($0.1598) per bag and had initially refused an offer by some smaller exporters for an increase to 50 CFA.
The deal to increase the fee per sack to more than 50 CFA francs looks to have been settled, but the exact figure hasn’t been disclosed.
The strike originally began on 24 October, was then suspended for three days and resumed on 31 October. Only the port of San Pedro was affected, while the second main port in Abidjan continued as usual.
Amidou Sylla, the strike leader, had said that ‘only smaller exporters offered this increase whereas bigger companies that have large volumes have not made any offers, so we will not return to work.’ But it looks like they may have had to accept a smaller sum than they had wanted.
Exporters feared that the delays will affect the quality of the Cocoa, which is stored unprotected from heat and rain in the back of trucks, so there was pressure on both sides to resolve the deal.
The timing is not ideal. November and December are the peak of activity for us.An anonymous exporter in San Pedro (source: Reuters)
An exporter in Abidjan said his business was now two weeks behind schedule due to the strikes, as he attempts to redirect his deliveries from his factory in San Pedro.