Transport companies in Argentina are increasingly worried about the shortage of spare tires in the country, in addition to the fact that they can be purchased abroad for half the price, it was reported.
After the government decided to limit imports in a move to avoid the expenditure of hard currency, it is easier to find the remnants of Noah's Ark than tires,” Javier Madanes Quintanilla, owner of the local Fate tire manufacturing company, told TN.
This situation has led to numerous protests and road blockades to demand a solution to the problem that has been going on for more than 100 days, despite mediating efforts from the courts, the Labor Ministry, and officials from the province of Buenos Aires, where the local manufacturing plants are located.
Industry leaders argue that they are producing at 40% of their capacity due to the successive stoppages and blockades at warehouses.
The conflict started in March after the SUTNA (Sindicato Único de Trabajadores del Neumático Argentino) union requested a wage increase of five points above inflation between 2021 and 2022 and the payment of weekend hours at 200%.
Since employers offered less and refused to pay as much for weekend hours, tension spread, and by today there seems to be no negotiation possible after three and a half months of bargaining.
SUTNA leader Alejandro Crespo claimed the workers' request would represent 15% of the cost of wages for companies which, he assures, had profits during 2021 and 2022.
Contrary to media versions, the union does not seek the control of the factory since it does not know neither its balance sheets nor the internal economic operation, Crespo stressed. It only demands a wage increase and the recomposition of income, as salaries fell way below inflation.
There are three manufacturers nationwide: Fate is entirely local while Pirelli and Bridgestone also have plants in the country. The two foreign companies are feared to be planning to leave Argentina.
According to the chamber bringing the three companies together, Argentina's productivity is 25% below similar plants in neighboring countries, while buying a tire in Argentina costs drivers twice as much as in Uruguay or Brazil.