Argentine intercity bus drivers have gone on a 72-hour nationwide strike from Friday through Monday to demand better wages and labour conditions as well as overdue salaries.
We are not going to allow poverty wages. That is why we have decided on a national strike in the long-distance sector for 72 hours, from 12 noon Friday the 27th to 12 noon Monday the 30th, the drivers' UTA union said in a statement.
Argentina has very limited intercity train services and flights are also subject to pandemic restrictions. Hence, bus travel remained the only and most widely used option for people who cannot travel by car. In practical terms, the drivers' strike is another restriction on people's mobility.
The document, signed by UTA Secretary-General Roberto Fernández, also highlights that businessmen act without the slightest sense of sensitivity towards workers, who have been putting their bodies on the long-distance sector to maintain activity in the system.
The labour grouping also warned that we are not going to allow the working conditions of the colleagues represented to make us precarious, as a pledge of exchange before a just request for a salary increase.
The union added that in case the above does not result in a sufficient violation of rights, the “vast majority of companies” are in debt to their employees. They owe salaries, agreed non-remunerative amounts, decree 14/2020, travel expenses, etc. We understand that the National State makes a great effort to sustain job sources and maintain the purchasing power of salaries, the statement also pointed out.
UTA also highlighted that despite Government subsidies “we are facing the negligence of an unscrupulous business sector and without limits. It seems that they intend to maintain their profit margins based on the declaration of a pandemic, or at the cost of the precariousness of working conditions, according to the document.
Pretending that we drive more hours, fewer drivers, outside the law and circumventing all workers' rights, they intend to make us work more than the conventional day, violating the conquests of decades by the organized labour movement, the union underlined.
We want to state that we hold the business sector responsible for all the consequences of any union activity, for the total refusal to agree on the salaries of the workers, and to try to negotiate working conditions in exchange for salaries.”