Argentine extreme-south Tierra del Fuego province government unions blocking the main national highway to the capital Ushuaia decided to lift pickets, but agreed to continue with the several weeks occupation of the provincial government house in demand for the elimination of recently approved reforms to the pensions scheme.
During the weekend the Ushuaia Labor Court called on both sides to meet at his office and even when the result was not encouraging, the provincial government representative and Home secretary, Gaston Diaz pledged a 'dialogue table' as soon as crimes being committed cease
”The fact that only one crime has ceased (pickets), can't constitute a good will gesture, since we must not forget that the main avenue San Martin and Government House remain blocked to officials, staff and the public, said minister Díaz.
At the technical dialogue table we are willing to discuss all issues that have to be discussed, and in that spirit hopefully we can reach consensuses pointed out Diaz, but we are not going to sit at the table if hooded protestors stone the homes of government staff, or block streets or impede access to government house; we're not asking workers to abandon the strike or assemblies. I repeat if they comply with an end to blocking streets and abandon government house, tomorrow early morning we are ready to discuss.
Following the lifting of pickets, union leaders said that priority now was to keep the unity of the group.
The result of the meeting on Sunday and the good offices of father Aldo Moschetta were not enough for the government, but from now on we are going to see what are the alternatives ahead, said union leader Horacio Catena.
Tomorrow Ushuaia will awake with no pickets, but schools won't teach, hospitals will remain on strike, the city's services will continue paralyzed and the conflict will stand pledged Catena.
The union leader said that the highway pickets was the least important industrial action they had taken, even with people annoyed, but what really has people furious is the government with its hospitals not working, schools closed and town services cancelled.
Catena added that priority now was working to keep the unions' unity and concentrate our efforts in the encampment surrounding government house.
Meanwhile from Buenos Aires, Interior minister Rogelio Frigerio again expressed support for besieged governor Rosana Bertone insisting that 'dialogue is the only way for an end to the conflict' with provincial government staff.
The governor received a province which is broke, with an unsustainable pensions' scheme. There is no way of financing them and tough unpopular measures are needed to balance the budget. We are doing the same at national level, we have planned to have a balanced budget in four years time, every day a step closer and that is what the governor is doing and she has all our backing, added the minister.
Frigerio also recalled that the fiscal and pensions reviews were passed by two thirds of the Tierra del Fuego legislature last January. Extortion can't turn bills around; lawmakers believed that what was approved was the least bad solution, that is how democracy works, despite sector interests, and must be accepted”.