May 24, 2013
Food industries group backs price controls
Food product industries demonstrated support for price controls being implemented by the government on condition that there are no increases from their providers at wholesale level and other extra costs although they said the decision must be made by each business.
The COPAL food industries association, at a general board meeting held yesterday, decided against taking a joint position which would pressure businesses to follow the price freeze, saying that they wanted each business to have the freedom to evaluate on the basis of their costs whether the freeze was viable for them.
Although the meeting progressed smoothly, differences between the businessmen did emerge over two points: firstly, how to deal with price costs affected by various factors such as logistics, different supply costs depending on location and import requirements and secondly, how to deal with collective wage bargaining over the next month.
COPAL president Daniel Funes de Rioja stated that the prize freeze is an agreement between supermarkets and that it remained to be seen how they managed with their suppliers.
“We all want macro-economic stability and no inflation,” said Funes de Rioja. He furthermore remarked that the 60-day supermarket prize freeze “will allow conversations with the providers,” in order to guarantee that prices do not move.
The COPAL president expressed doubts as to whether all sectors would be able to maintain their prices stable and stated that the coming wage negotiations should take into account how businesses can remain competitive, requesting union moderation in their demands.
On the other hand, the Argentine Rural Society stated in a press release that they completely disagreed with the price controls, pointing out that history has demonstrated that this type of measures never work. They argued that the only way to really stop inflation is by addressing macro-economic distortions and creating a favourable investment climate by giving producers incentives to produce more.
Government-aligned CGT umbrella labour union leader Antonio Caló declared yesterday that “the shopping-basket keeps increasing every day” and demanded that the government do “something serious” to tackle inflation. He believed that they should identify those responsible for setting prices and sit down and talk with them. He said he wasn’t against meeting with dissident CGT union grouping leader Hugo Moyano but he would leave that decision up to his labour umbrella’s round table meeting tomorrow.
The teamster union headed by dissident CGT Hugo Moyano blockaded supermarket wholesalers owned by Maxiconsumo business in this metropolis and Greater Buenos Aires. The union demanded that logistics workers belonging to the shop clerks’ union headed by Armando Cavalieri integrate fully into their ranks. The protestors blocked the entry and exit of the company’s vehicles located in San Justo, La Matanza, Burzaco, Almirante Brown and other supermarkets around the Greater Buenos Aires area. Moyano’s union had also blocked the supermarkets last October to enforce the same demand. The blockade was strongly condemned by the Argentine Chamber of Distributors and Wholesalers (CADAM), calling it an “attack.” CADAM’s president said “The truth is we don’t understand the reason behind this move because two years ago, we had already transferred the majority of our logistics workers to the teamster union,” referring to a past conflict in 2010.
Herald with DyN