Argentina's two largest state workers unions have warned they will be carrying out a strike on December 29 as a response to president Mauricio Macri's government vow to review public-sector contracts.
ATE Secretary-General Hugo Godoy confirmed that public employees who are part of his union will be mobilizing this week across the country as a warning that they will not tolerate mass dismissals and calling for a decrease in under-the-table public-sector jobs.
Last week Modernization Minister Andrés Ibarra said Macri’s administration will launch a thorough review of its payroll in order to detect no-shows in the national government. Ibarra said the government will review 24,000 job placement contracts made during President Cristina Fernandez administration in order to detect “no-show employees” and other cases of payroll fraud.
“Job contracts awarded over the past three years will be renewed every three months and will be reviewed to examine their genuine nature,” Ibarra said during a press conference at Government House.
Godoy recognized there may be cases of so-called “no-show” employees but emphasized the problem could be easily corrected with increased oversight.
The mobilization has been called to request that “Macri, who is the boss of state employees” establish mechanisms for the public sector to begin the process of negotiations of an end-of-year bonus in the same way that those in the private sector have received.
Andrés Rodriguez of the UPCN union took a more measured line, saying that no labor action had been planned and that in principle there was no problem with the government reviewing contracts. However, any unjustified “cutbacks” would be met with mobilizations Rodriguez said.
Ibarra tried to calm fears by saying there would be meetings with unions to explain the process and that it would not trigger a wave of dismissals. He did confirm there will be “automatic” layoffs if it could be demonstrated that employees had failed to show up to work.