Argentine organized labour splits and pledges to challenge Cristina Fernandez
Argentina’s CGT Central Labour Confederation leader Hugo Moyano, who on Thursday was re-elected for a third period during the umbrella organization’s congress warned that “we will have to rethink our vote in 2013 if the Government (of President Cristina Fernandez) does not give an answer to our claims.”
Moyano, whose rift with President Cristina Fernández administration deepened in the last months addressed supporters in a rally during the CGT Congress, which he stressed “took place despite that ministers and government officials tried their hardest to prevent us from being here.”
“Despite the fact we’ve been pressured and harassed this historic day took place all the same. Never before has a Government, either democratic or a dictatorship, tried to meddle with unions’ organization. Each government official, each minister tried to the best they could to prevent this Congress from happening” Moyano added.
The re-elected labour leader anticipated that in 2013 “we are going to rethink our vote to see if it is really true that without the support from the workers, that 54% does not contract significantly”.
“Let not the government forget that the 54% it boasts has a high percentage of workers” and called on the administration to begin giving replies to demands or “we will be forced to think in political terms”.
Moyano added that “we can’t give our vote to those who continue attacking us, to those who deny legitimacy to our claims, to who with arrogance despises workers”.
In October 2011 Cristina Fernandez was re-elected with an overwhelming and historic 54% of the vote and 35 points ahead of her runner up. CGT leader Moyano could only bow to such a victory. However in 2013 Cristina Fernandez faces mid term congressional elections and the economic situation is not so bright or promising.
In effect as the global economy slows down and exports stall, “official” manicured inflation in Argentina is just below two digits but for the rest of the country, IMF and World Bank it is closer to an annualized 25%.
In anticipation of what can be expected and besides the repeated demands to lift the minimum for paying income tax and lowering the maximum for having access to family allowance and other benefits, Moyano also addressed the two very highly sensitive issues of inflation and security.
This issue of inflation is getting unsustainable Moyano told supporters after his unanimous election, demanding the government hike the minimum threshold for income tax as wages rise. The workers can't support this unjust tax any longer.
He added that “workers are living under constant fear because of the rampant insecurity that threatens the whole community, and workers are desperate trying to find a solution to a problem which is the State’s responsibility to address”.
Moyano then asked “why are you so afraid of the workers union organizations? You should not be afraid of us, you should respect us. You cannot ignore the power of workers, and our claims should not be ignored.”
The re-elected CGT leader also assured that “the National Government refused to hand over the money to Buenos Aires province Governor Daniel Scioli for him to pay salaries and bonuses in time. All of us know that. The National Government pursues permanent confrontation instead of dialogue”.
According to the data released by the CGT congress, Moyano obtained 54% of the votes cast. A total of 1.009 congress members were registered to vote. Before the vote was taken, an assembly approved the incorporation of another 45 unions and 241 congress members of which 109 were allowed to vote. The CGT unions’ voter registry before the latest incorporations was 1.610 of which 901 registered for the congress.
Thursday’s congress and Moyano re-election definitively underlines the rupture within the umbrella union, considering the fact that his opponents sponsored by the administration of Cristina Fernandez are to hold their own internal election in October putting forward UOM metal workers union head Antonio Caló to be president.
With the new scenario there are three CGT: the one headed by re-elected Moyano and his dominating teamsters’ union; a second under Luis Barrionuevo and the third led by Antonio Caló supported by a grouping called “the fat cats” and the CFK administration.
The head of the pro-government UOM metal workers union Caló commented on the crisis within the CGT umbrella union and said that they took “all the possible steps” in order to avoid the fracture within the union, reaffirming that “the labour movements rift does not benefit the workers.”
“The rupture within the labour movement is not something that benefits the workers. We were working until the last minute in order to bring together the two congresses, so that both take place in October”, the union head Caló said.
“Moyano has decided to go ahead with a congress that he believes to be legitimate. It is not however, what the Labour Ministry agreed to”, concluded Caló.