Around 50 Brazilian workers at South America's largest port are occupying a Chinese freighter to protest the use of Chinese labor rather than local longshoremen, unions said Tuesday.
The dispute began Monday at the port of Santos in southeast Brazil after the Zhen Hua 10 arrived from Shanghai loaded with new gear to be used for unloading and moving containers in Embraport's new private terminal.
The president of the dockworkers' union, Rodnei Oliveira da Silva, said that under Brazilian law the company has to use Brazilian longshoremen to unload the equipment in the terminal.
But Embraport says unloading and installing the equipment is the responsibility of the Chinese manufacturer.
The port company said it was negotiating with the workers to get them to leave the vessel.
Embraport "does not respect" the rights of Brazilian port workers, Oliveira da Silva told AFP.
The company said there were 24 Chinese workers aboard the ship, which traveled from China to work on the final phase of building the terminal.