December 9, 2013
Bank clerks on strike
Bank clerks held a national strike today demanding the payment of 1,800 pesos allegedly owed due to wage negotiations. An assembly will be held by the union tomorrow to define a “struggle plan.”
Minutes after the strike was announced yesterday afternoon, the Labour Ministry put into effect a compulsory conciliation period of ten days, although the clerks rejected the move and insisted that the strike would proceed.
The bank clerks announced the strike measure to demand that banks offer salary increases “in accordance with the 41 percent average increase in earnings” in 2012, said the leader of the La Bancaria bank clerks’ union, Sergio Palazzo, in a press conference yesterday afternoon.
“The management has not even come up with a proposal. We demand a sum of 1,800 pesos following what was agreed in wage negotiations,” said Palazzo, accompanied by the union’s press secretary Eduardo Berrozpe.
The Labour Ministry’s compulsory conciliation was announced by Deputy Minister Noemí Rial yesterday. If bank clerks comply, today’s strike will be called off.
Earlier in the day, Berrozpe had said that “if there is no positive response to our demands, there will be a national strike of activities.”
“The union is concerned, because our salary agreement expires on December 31 and we have yet to see positive results,” said the press secretary, adding that “the lack of response is inadmissible with the earnings that the banks have posted, and we have received no response to our request for an increase, which would cover the rising prices for basic shopping.”
The union immediately rejected the compulsory conciliation request, with Palazzo stating that “there can be no compulsory conciliation if the Labour Ministry has not asked us to meet.”
However, the Ministry released a statement in which it said that “permanent meetings have been held between the parties involved with the participation of officials from this ministry, and direct negotiations have taken place between the employment chambers and union representatives.”
“Despite the efforts of the ministry’s labour authorities, no request for a hearing has been made by AB prior to the declaration of the strike, which is what would be expected as there has been no direct agreement between the parties,” continued the statement.
“According to Law 14,786, the compulsory conciliation will last for ten days from midnight on the morning of December 27,” said the statement, underlining that “complying with the ministry’s compulsory conciliation is complying with the law, and it is an indispensable step in terms of resuming collective negotiations.”