May 22, 2013
Teamsters begin 3-day nationwide strike; fuel shortage foreseen
The teamsters’ union led by Pablo Moyano announced yesterday it will carry out a strike on a nationwide level until Friday and refused to abide by the mandatory conciliation issued by the Labour Ministry.
National lorry driver strikes had been avoided today with the exception of Entre Ríos province, after the Labour Ministry ordered a conciliatory agreement with Teamsters, amid the conflict between Pablo Moyano's union and freight companies, following the failure to reach a wage deal during conciliatory talks last night.
The conciliatory agreement was supposed to be held in place for 15 days.
Yesterday, Vice-President Amado Boudou, the acting president, vowed to use the anti-hoarding law if the distribution of fuel and other key supplies, including food are blocked. Truckers blocked petrol plants last night.
“If necessary we will apply the anti-hoarding law so in that way, from government, we can transmit calm to the population and guarantee that distribution is normal,” Boudou said.
Hugo Moyano, the secretary-general of the CGT union umbrella group and Pablo Moyano’s father, last night reacted to Boudou’s comments. “We will not be scared, we will not retreat” in the salary demands, Moyano said. Moyano said the Vice-President “did not apply the anti-hoarding law when legislators were granted a wage increase of 100 percent.” Moyano, speaking during a gathering at the CGT, said that “in the very near future, all workers will demonstrate for more jobs and for our rights.”.
The teamsters are also demanding an end to wage income tax and to salary caps to collect family allowances. The Moyanos and Fernández de Kirchner were strategic allies since Néstor Kirchner, the President’s late husband and predecessor in power, took office in 2003. But the President has been at odds with the teamsters since refusing to accept the CGT’s political demands for congressional candidacies before last October’s presidential elections.
Trucks last night were blocking the plants of the energy company YPF in the city of San Lorenzo (Santa Fe and Monte Cristo (Córdoba). Truckers were blocking a refinery in San Lorenzo, 18 kilometres north of Rosario.
Labour Minister Carlos Tomada last night said that the strike was “a provocation.” He said the union could face “severe economic sanctions” if it defies the mandatory conciliation. Boudou said that the walkout “has no logic.” He added: “It’s not a question of seeing who is more macho.”
Pablo Moyano said Boudou should “prove that he is not guilty,” in reference to the influence-peddling allegations he is facing in court.
The Labour Ministry said that it was issued “due to the untimely measure taken by the lorry drivers’ union, with the aim of reaching negotiation to ensure peace be kept in society.”