Argentine bakers give away 5 tonnes bread in protest

Buenos Aires, June 7 (IANS) Bakers in Argentine’s Buenos Aires province gave away five tonnes of bread on Wednesday — the second time in six weeks — to protest the rise in the price of flour, threatening to expand their protests if the government does not address their demands.

“We are thinking of taking other steps to make the government agree to a dialogue so a solution is provided. We want millers to stop raising the price of flour. They shouldn’t be selling it in the local market at the same price that they export it,” Efe quoted Yanina Brigliano, a member of the Commission of Bakers of the West, as saying.

Brigliano, who is the owner of a bakery in Moron, in the outskirts of Buenos Aires, said that bakers have also been affected by a rise in the rates for electricity, water and gas, making it impossible to break even when flour is sold “at dollar prices”.

The bakers are demanding that the price of the kilo of flour be reduced to what it was at the beginning of the year, namely 350 pesos ($14), compared to the 800 pesos ($32) they currently pay.

With current flour prices, according to the bakers, a kilo of bread should $3.50, although most bakeries sell it for $2, absorbing the difference.

“We are here to succeed, to fight together with our colleagues from Greater Buenos Aires, from the province and from the whole nation. We will continue to fight and we want the governing party and the opposition to understand that they must address our demands,” bakers union official Abel Rodriguez said.

Rodriguez said that the more than 400,000 employed in Argentina’s 40,000 bakeries would not be able to continue making a living if the economic policies of the conservative government of President Mauricio Macri were not “modernized”.

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