The Automotive Tramways Union (UTA) ratified a 24-hour general strike in the interior of the country and in five Buenos Aires cities from this midnight, before “the new failure of the negotiations with the business chambers of the sector so that the workers receive the total wages for April.”
The union’s secretary general, Roberto Fernández, confirmed to Télam that the general strike will begin at 0 on Tuesday in almost the entire national territory, but clarified that There will be no unemployment in the Federal Capital and the Buenos Aires suburbs, and announced that a new hearing was called for next Wednesday to seek a solution.
Fernández criticized “the employer intransigence” to pay the salaries of the personnel of the whole country, especially in “the current context of the coronavirus pandemic” and maintained that “the drivers do not deserve such unfair and arbitrary treatment”.
The union leader explained to Télam that the strike will take place in all districts, including the Buenos Aires cities of Mar del Plata, Tandil, San Nicolás, Olavarría and Bahía Blanca, but not in the conurbano provincial and Capital Federal.
The national leadership of the union had ratified last Friday the state of “national alert” in the face of “the absence of progress”, although it agreed then with employers and Labor a fourth intermediate in the virtual negotiations.
That instance resumed this Monday under the supervision of Labor, but according to the union “there were no matches” and ratified the 24-hour national strike.
Some sources indicated that the strike would not take place in Salta, San Juan and Neuquén, because in the dialogue with the UTA they showed “more likely to reach an agreement” than the rest of the districtsAlthough other spokesmen doubted that possibility, since “the spirit of union solidarity will prevail,” they said.
Fernández ratified tonight the cessation of activities in the interior of the country throughout the day tomorrow and maintained that “the UTA requested from the first moment to employers and officials mechanisms to find definitive solutions, in the context of the commitment shown by the workers” .
“The drivers lined up in the guild demonstrated their commitment from the outset in the front line of essential services, in the midst of a coronavirus pandemic, and in no way deserve this treatment,” said the leader.
Fernández urged “those responsible for having generated this situation to offer urgent responses,” and warned that “The union force measures could be deepened if the debts owed are not immediately paid.”
The leader, who is a member of the Argentine Confederation of Transport Workers (CATT), explained that after more than 20 days of negotiations and four hearings, and despite repeated warnings regarding the impending salary problem, “the employers said they could not pay,” he said.
For the unionist, that employer’s position is “illegitimate and offensive”, and “puts in check the livelihood of 35 thousand drivers in the interior” from Argentina, he concluded.
The authorities of the Transport portfolio will also participate in the new virtual hearing next Wednesday, the union and official sources confirmed to Télam, since the conflict “is based on the lack of money transfer due to subsidies within the country,” according to union leaders detailed.