May 23, 2013
Border, Coast guard protest continues for fourth day
Border and Coast Guard officers's protest continued for the fourth consecutive day as they demand a wage increase.
The prostest remained despite the government had deposited the wage payments that had been in question.
Gendarmerie's spokesman Raúl Maza told the press that "(Security Ministry's) answer will be given on Tuesday," but warned that "we will remain here until we have a signed and approved decree."
Maza ratified that the points in the petition presented before Security Secretary Sergio Berni included "avoiding reprisals" to the ones that were part of the protest and a "seven thousand pesos minimum wage."
The new head of the Gendarmerie, Enrique Zach, committed on Thursday 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.”