2 agosto 2022

The CGT redesigns its strategy and negotiates its aspirations. Published on Cronista.com

The Argentine General Confederation of Labor (CGT), the only consolidated power still standing within the Justicialist Party, and Peronism in general, is redesigning its strategy in support of President Alberto Fernandez, with the arrival of Sergio Massa, while the rest of the power factions are falling prey to the government’s cannibalism.

The reorganization of the Executive and the rise of Sergio Massa, who will have Cristina Fernandez’s support for 100 days and a new structure, offer new alternatives that have not yet been explored.

Article by Julián A. de Diego published on Cronista.com on August 2, 2022

There is still a climate of high uncertainty and total unpredictability; the market is showing a combination of selective reactivation and job growth with inflation (which may be called “reactiflation”), which has 14 months in the making. It is important to remember that Argentina has had such a long period of stagflation -stagnation and recession coupled with inflation- for at least ten years.

As always, the CGT tactic has a starting point: the «March against Inflation and Price Makers» scheduled for August 17, which claims to be exclusively led by the workers’ movement, without inviting any other dissident groups, CTA [Argentine Workers’ Central Union] or left-wing associations to join -in particular social organizations will not take part. The meeting point is the Obelisk of Buenos Aires, and it is said that it is not a demonstration against the National Government. This march could be cancelled if the parties meet up to discuss the pending issues with Sergio Massa.

There are three stages: reaching agreements, formulating policies, and planning implementation (how and when).

From now on and until August 17 -the anniversary of the death of José de San Martín-, groups of 2 or 3 CGT delegates will meet and try to get support and hear any discrepancies with the most influential representative sectors in politics and the economy in everyday life. They are expected to reach an agreement, which is essential to keep social peace.

Naturally, the deadline is the end of the negotiation process for proposals and changes in the economic direction, aimed at combatting inflation efficiently in the medium term, with the goal of consolidating a 2023 ticket with the involvement of the organized labor movement, meaning the CGT only.

Firstly, the main spokesperson is Héctor Daer (Health Workers), with the support of the most important unions of the CGT bloc, with the participation of Carlos Acuña (Gas Stations Workers).

Secondly, there is Carlos West Ocampo (FATSA Health Workers), Armando Cavalieri (FAECYS Commerce Employees), Gerardo Martinez (UOCRA Construction Workers), Andrés Rodriguez (UPCN Public Employees), Jorge Sola (Insurance Workers), Guillermo Moser (Electricity Workers), Juan Carlos Schmid (Dredging and Beaconing Workers), Victor Santa María (Janitors) and Carlos Frigerio (Brewery Workers).

Thirdly, but still within the bloc, there is Pablo Moyano (Truck Drivers), today supporting Cristina Fernandez, while Hugo Moyano (his father) sides with the CGT and Alberto Fernandez, and Sergio Palazzo (Banking Employees and Corriente Federal) who used to support Cristina but today follows closely the urgent needs of the national government.

There are also doubts about what Abel Furlán (UOMRA Metallurgic Workers) will do once Antonio Caló leaves, who just a few days ago agreed on a wage revision under collective bargaining agreement with a 60% rise for 2022 in three installments, which will surely set an example for other organizations.

A triumvirate of CGT leaders made up of Gerardo Martinez, José Luis Lingieri (Water Supply) and Andrés Rodriguez (UPCN) has met up with Vice President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, probably to identify any points of agreement and discrepancies, after Héctor Daer had a similar meeting.

The agenda to be discussed with the Executive is really comprehensive, ranging from the million-dollar debt in social health care through the redistribution fund, the increase in Minimum Wage, the adjustments in welfare programs and the Universal Basic Income, a uniform increase in wages by an Emergency Executive Order that would be inconvenient from all possible perspectives of analysis, to a number of actions intended to reduce public spending, currency printing and fiscal deficit.

Strictly speaking, the CGT seeks to find mechanisms that are consistently aimed at regaining trust. For example, put the income policy in the hands of the Unions, but with a framework agreement to avoid unfair competition, which is sometimes disloyal during labor-management meetings. Dispel any doubts about an imminent labor reform, and clarify that any changes will be introduced under collective bargaining agreements.

Furthermore, there are other urgent measures that include analyzing the consequences that any social security and tax moratoriums may cause, and any other actions to avoid mismanagement, unclear administration or fraudulent maneuvers based on favoritism.

In addition, the CGT is trying to find coherent explanations about the promotion of exports, the issue of the gas pipeline construction and the gas supply, and how to benefit from the opportunities that the global market is offering today and are often wasted. The situation in Neuquén is really complicated with the Mapuche community and its claims over Vaca Muerta, both in the oil fields and lands.

Another difficult issue is how to handle revenue that is not controlled by the Executive, which still sparks up debates about arbitrary management and quite visibly unclear administration.

The CGT task is quite ambitious, because -let’s be clear- a considerable number of structural measures are necessary, and in fact, some economists who support Macri have elaborated a series of «white papers» with specific recommendations. Political leaders, who have the highest disapproval rating in the last thirty years according to public opinion polls, are often discredited and unreliable. With a few exceptions, they have already failed in their public service functions, and now claim they can make all the changes that the country needs in the future to overcome the crisis in which it is trapped today. Within 18 months’ time we will see if they have achieved any goal or have definitively fallen into disgrace, only to be replaced by another new alliance.

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