In a high voltage exchange with Argentine President Cristina Fernandez, the head of the powerful organized labour unions CGT, Hugo Moyano said he was stepping down from all his posts in the ruling Peronist movement since it had become “an empty shell void of Peronism” but would continue fighting for the workers movement which is the essence of Peronism.
Addressing a packed stadium with over 80.000 workers to celebrate Teamsters’ Day, Moyano sent a strong message to the incoming administration of Cristina Fernandez who during last Saturday’s inauguration ceremony said her government protected the right to strike but would not tolerate “blackmail” or “extortion” in the form of strikes.
Moyano started by saying that “we don't want to occupy anyone's role, but to carry out our responsibility' and therefore he was stepping down as the leader of the Buenos Aires province branch of the Peronist Party and as Vice-president of the Peronist Party.
He added the Peronist Party in the province of Buenos Aires is an empty shell lacking Peronism. That's why I have decided to quit the interim presidency of the Buenos Aires province branch of the Peronist Party.
But I have ratified we will strengthen the Peronism we workers deserve.
Moyano complained that the Peronist movement in the province of Buenos Aires and one of the most powerful instruments had ceased to have political influence “because political power manages it at its own will; they even have named other candidates we don’t even know”.
“And since I don’t have buffoons or clowns I can’t let others play the game. In the Peronist party the same happens: it is empty of politics and Peronism. It has become irrelevant, candidates and posts are filled from outside, and many of us don’t feel part of this version so we are going to rebuild Peronism because it is what has transformed the condition of workers in Argentina”.
Moyano went then to urge the national government to give back the 12 billion pesos they have withdrawn from health insurance companies.
At his time former president Nestor Kirchner promised he would support health and social services managed by the unions but “since 2008 that promise has been diluted”.
“This means the government is retaining workers’ money, while it keeps increasing the number of benefits our organizations must address and manage. This is most unfair and a plunder”, said Moyano.
But the organized labour leader harshest comments were referred directly to other passages of Cristina Fernandez speech last Saturday during the swearing in ceremony which Moyano did not attend.
“We are not in to extortion or blackmail, we are only after what we deserve, what belongs to us”, said Moyano to an ovation of 80.000 teamsters.
He also underlined that “the best government for the Argentine workers, that gave dignity and pride to workers was that of Juan Domingo Peron, let’s not get confuses” in reference to CFK words about the fact her administration and that of her predecessor and husband, created 5 million jobs and has had the economy growing uninterrupted since 2003, the longest period in Argentine history for the benefit of workers and business leaders alike.
Moyano also had time to blast Cristina Fernandez on the list of candidate names for last October’s election which left out union leaders and favoured youth organizations, most notoriously that of CFK’s son Maximo Kirchner, ‘La Campora’.
“Well over the 54% of Cristina’s victory in the election were the votes of the workers not of the ‘nice-mummy boys’”, emphasized the union leader.
Finally he warned that the coming round of salary negotiations will be subject to the elimination of the ‘earnings tax’ and that business leaders do not increase prices, because “the crisis will not be paid by the workers”.
Moyano was referring to the round of salary negotiations scheduled to begin next March with the background of the official Indec inflation rate which is half the “supermarket shelves” inflation “which will be the index floor demanded by workers”.
March therefore will be an extremely difficult month in Argentine politics and industrial relations since Moyano, the former ally of the Kirchner couple arrives to the negotiations round much debilitated by his loss of power and influence following on Cristina Fernandez windfall victory last October.
Furthermore he faces an election in April and several hopefuls have anticipated they would be disputing his leadership of the powerful Argentine organized labour movement.
Former president Nestor Kirchner when taking office in 2003 reached an agreement with Moyano who effectively helped to steer the workers’ movement during those difficult first years in exchange for political and financial benefits for the unions.
However with time the relation soured as Moyano advanced on the political system and pretended to dictate the name of CFK Vice president candidate and fill with his people the main places in the candidates’ lists to Congress for last October’s election.
He even bragged that as Brazil had a former union leader president (Lula da Silva), Argentine workers and their leader were also entitled to that opportunity for 2015.