Argentina’s organized labour CGT leader Hugo Moyano, questioned the administration of President Cristina Fernandez, CFK, over the lack of progress in the salaries collective bargaining talks and warned that he hopes “they don’t push him into a general strike”.
The CGT asked for the Argentine government to be “reasonable” during the collective bargaining process and expressed his support for the teachers’ unions in several Argentina provinces that are currently going on strike.
“There are many ways to negotiate a salary. We have to be reasonable but the government also has to raise the income tax floor and raise the universal child allowance ceiling “so anyone making over 5,000 pesos (approx 1.200 dollars) can also qualify for it.”
Regarding the possibility of a general strike, Moyano replied that he expected he was not forced to reach that situation.
“I hope we don’t come to call for a general strike. Better said, I hope we’re not pushed to call for a general strike”.
“If the three parts in this discussion can agree then we can solve this situation,” he assured.
The discrepancy emerges from the faulty official inflation stats in Argentina: while the official index is just below two digits, all private consultants plus several provinces ruled by opposition governors estimate Argentina’s consumer prices index to be in the range of 23% to 25%.
The Cristina Fernandez administration has suggested that salaries should respect a ceiling of 18%, while organized labour believe they are entitled to percentages in accordance with the private estimates.
Moyano then said he supported the teachers’ unions who called for a strike this week after failed salary negotiations.
“Their demands are legitimate and they have our support,” he said.
He also questioned President Fernández de Kirchner’s statements towards teachers during the opening of the legislative year in Congress last Thursday.
“When I heard her, I was surprised. I said to myself: ‘this cannot be’” he said in reference to the moment when the President said that teachers “work four hours and enjoy a three-month vacation.”
“This is very different from what she used to think a few years ago,” he stated.
Meanwhile Buenos Aires province teachers’ union ratified the 48-hours national strike scheduled for Tuesday and Wednesday to demand a wage hike above from the one offered by the provincial government last week.
The measure was confirmed after a collective bargaining encounter held between the unions and the province’s government. According to a union source, their demand to increase the initial salary to 3.100 pesos was not accepted. The provincial government is offering 2.800 Pesos.
The negotiations will resume on Thursday, and the members of the union did not rule out the chance to apply new measures.