May 24, 2013
Subway: strike is lifted after workers, Metrovías reach agreement
Subway workers announced that they were ending the strike they began 10 days ago after reaching an agreement with Metrovías. The subway service is expected to resume normally on Tuesday.
“We reached an agreement and lifted the strike,” City Labour Undersecretary Ezequiel Sabor.
At the same time, the leader of the subway workers, Roberto Pianelli, indicated on his Twitter account that an agreement had finally been reached. “All we want is to go back home. Contratulations to all our colleagues,” he tweeted.
According to the Subway and Premetro Workers’ Union Association (AGTSyP), the agreement contains “improvements in labour conditions, an amendment to the rules regarding day licenses and restructuration of salaries that allow for the solution of the conflict.”
After a ten day strike, workers will go back to their posts and the service will go back to normal, although they announced that salary negotiations must continue since they “expired last February 28th.”
“We would like to apologize to the population that was affected by our measures, which we were forced to put in place, and that today, after evaluating the proposal and voting it all together, has been suspended,” a statement read.
Spokesmen from Metrovías, City government officials, and representatives from the UTA union and subway workers met earlier in order to put an end to the conflict that has left the city of Buenos Aires without any subway service for the last ten days.
In the meeting, workers on strike are introducing a new document containing five labour.
As subway delegates Néstor Segovia and Enrique Rossito were seen entering the meeting, they assured that the strike “continues and has not been lifted.
Earlier, Segovia, told reporters “there is a light of hope and we could be ending the strike some point today.”
“There’s hope that negotiations with both Metrovías company and the Buenos Aires City government could be solved within the next few hours
After such statements, Segovia also revealed that “there’s the possibility of calling a truce as workmates have already indicated to agree with doing so in case we obtain some positive responses to our demands.”
Workers claim a 28 percent salary increase as well the improvement of their working conditions
Likewise, the other Subway workers’ breakaway union secretary-general, Roberto Pianelli, assured this morning that as far as the strike is entering its tenth day, Metrovías company refused to accept the minimum requirements they asked, and aimed also to BA City Mayor Macri “He [Macri] may find the conflict extension highly convenient for him.”
During a radio interview, Pianelli repeated that “it would be very simple to resolve the whole issue. It will just take a few minutes, but there’s no intention to provide a solution whatsoever.”
In addition, Pianelli bashed Macri for the extension of the measure and the suffering of all commuters:
“We do understand what commuters are going through as we and our families also use the subway system. But we gave them many opportunities before reaching to this point. We set several protests before like opening all gates and let commuters travel for free during an entire month, then we also called a weekend strike. But still, neither Metrovías nor the City government listened to us.
“So, at this point the only thing we regret about is that we never took into consideration that we were negotiating with an animal like Macri, who doesn’t give a dime for the people. Because the City Mayor is way more dangerous than a monkey with a knife, he’s like a monkey with an automatic gun.”
Likewise, Pianelli remembered that workers agreed to leave certain issues, including wage negotiations, aside and asked the company to at least improve certain working conditions.
“We were willing to claim for just some minimum requirements in order to resume the service today, but Metrovías did not comply with what they signed last Friday at the meeting held at the City’s Labour Secretariat”, Pianelli told reporters.
Furthermore, the unionist charged against the Roggio Group, which is licensed to manage the Subway and Tram system: “There’s a fantastic effort made by the media to forget that Metrovías is part of the Roggio Group, which is one of the biggest South American holdings that among many other business manage a subway line in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Nobody says that they could easily end the conflict by responding to our salary demands. Nobody says that the Subway system’s failures are due to Roggio’s lack of responsibility.
“They are a parasitic company that only cares about getting more subsidies”
“Meanwhile, the City government does everything possible to worsen the situation. Instead of warning the Roggio Group, they issued the mandatory conciliation when it is also part of the conflict, and furthermore, it fined the workers with 5 million pesos and threatens to sue all workers on strike.”
Buenos Aires City Mayor Mauricio Macri yesterday described the conflict as “political” and stated he saw “no way out.” According to the mayor, the union involved is closely tied with the national government, and the strike is an attack on the City “based on lies.”
Leaders of the AGTSyP breakaway union, who began an indefinite protest 10 days ago, rejected the compulsory conciliation and the five million pesos fine announced on Saturday by the City government after AGTSyP’s rejection of the conciliation.
The union also stated it would report Buenos Aires City Mayor Mauricio Macri today at the International Labour Organization (ILO) and other human rights bodies for “distorting the right to strike.”
“To persecute protesters is to go back a hundred years in history,” AGTSyP lawyer Ramírez said and added that the conciliation is “illegal” because the “Labour Undersecretary’s Office which ordered it is not competent in this conflict.”
“We were not allowed to present proofs, distorting the right of the union to defend itself,” said Ramírez, explaining that his union would formally challenge “all the resolutions made by the Labour Undersecretary’s Office.”
Néstor Segovia, another AGTSyP secretary, said that “evidently the conflict is in Macri’s interest” for his political career. “The City government is trying to mess things up when he reports that union leaders are linked with Kirchnerites,” stated Segovia.