Federal agricultural inspectors and their union have to ensure a minimum number of specialists are working this week in Brazilian ports, airports and slaughterhouses while their union continues to strike, after a federal supreme court granted an injunction on Friday that prohibits the union from paralyzing Brazil's meat sector completely.
On request from the Ministry of Agriculture, the federal attorney general pursued the injunction, which will levy a fine of BRL100,000 per day if the union doesn't comply.
The national union for federal agricultural inspectors, Anffa, said Friday it would comply with the ruling, though criticized it as dictatorial.
The court order mandates 100 percent of the inspectors return to work that are assigned to departments integral to food and health safety, including vegetable and animal sanitation inspection posts at airports, ports and border crossings, along with inspectors that work within animal slaughterhouses.
At least 70 percent of federal inspectors must report for a variety of less integral departments of the agricultural defense secretaries in all of Brazil's states, and its federal district.
In the ruling, Supreme Court Minister Napoleao Nunes Maia Filho said while the union's right to strike is protected, it's necessary to keep inspectors working in some capacity to serve their vital role to public health and the private sector.
An upside of the ruling for the inspectors' union is that it instructs the federal government to continue negotiations with the union as early as this week.
The union, which began its strike on Aug. 6, is asking the Ministry of Agriculture for salary increases, vocational school benefits and changes to how jobs are assigned.
Brazil's federal agricultural inspectors, responsible for monitoring domestic shipments and the transit of ag-related products in ports, airports and across borders, currently number 3,246 for all of Brazil, a woefully inadequate number, according to the inspectors' union, which has asked for the immediate hiring of 1,500 more inspectors as well.
Source: Argentine Beef Packers S.A.
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