May 18, 2013
Border, Coast guard protests continue, await new contact with Security Ministry
Whilst they wait for the Security Ministry's answer over the signed petition presented earlier on Thursday, Border and Coast Guard officers decided to continue with the protest, and said they might deepen measures if they do not reach an agreement before Tuesday.
"We are analyzing the petition (sent to the Security Ministry) in order to determine the salarial scale we are going to present before authorities next week. But we are going to make with the consensus of both forces," a representative of the Gendarmerie stated after the meeting with the forces' heads.
The Coast Guard spokesmen called for "tranquility" in order to continue with the negotiations. "If you are not calmed, then we can't negotiate. Let's show we are civilized people," they continued.
Following Wednesday's negotiation talks the Border and Coast Guard protests continued on Thursday despite the government's announcement that it had deposited the wage payments that had been in question. Officers gave in a signed petition by protesting members, listing their demands.
Guards' spokesmen assured that they had been summoned for a meeting this afternoon by members of the Security Ministry, but ministry's sources did not confirmed the encounter.
Earlier today, the new head of the Gendarmerie, Enrique Zach, committed before a group of officers that "no disciplinary measures" will be applied against those who are protesting.
“In line with what was announced yesterday by Cabinet Chief Juan Manuel Abal Medina, the money owed for the month of September has been deposited in the bank accounts of the Border Guard officer,” the Security Ministry said today in a statement.
The national government responded on Wednesday to the protest by firing the top brass in both security forces and promising to remedy salary “injustices” caused by controversial Decree 1307/12.
Under the new system established by the decree most of the troops would either earn the same or less than they previously had. However, despite widespread sympathy for the cause, politicians of all political stripes condemned the protest, describing it as aggressive and even unconstitutional.
First to speak up was Cabinet Chief Juan Manuel Abal Medina, who insisted that the decree, which had been an attempt to make the pay scale for both security forces more fair, had backfired due to what he described as the manipulation by higher-ranking officers seeking to safeguard their higher wages.
Abal Medina not only insisted that the Security Ministry would pay wages for this month without any reductions, but promised a full investigation into Tuesday night’s scuffling by Coast Guards, which he described as a reminder of Argentina’s past and “images that we never want to see again.”