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Argentina grain workers say to heed government call to end strike

BUENOS AIRES, May 18 (Reuters) - Crushing plant workers in Argentina said on Friday they would obey a government order to lift a strike and enter mediation as soon as they received it.

The labor ministry on Friday ordered a "mandatory reconciliation" that would end the strike, which started on Thursday to protest lay-offs earlier this year by global grains trader Cargill.

"We always abide by these resolutions, when it arrives we will do so," said Marco Pozzi, secretary for one of the unions that participated in the strike.

U.S.-based Cargill has faced several walk-offs since January after it laid off dozens of workers in an effort to restructure and reduce costs at some of its operations in Argentina, the world's No. 1 exporter of soyoil and meal.

Cargill said in a statement on Friday that it had replaced the workers with new employees that had identical contracts. It denied that working conditions had deteriorated. (Reporting by Eliana Raszewski; Writing by Caroline Stauffer; Editing by Sandra Maler)