May 18, 2013
Tomada reaffirms support for 30 percent hike
Labour Minister Carlos Tomada reaffirmed his support for the power workers union salary adjustment agreements that the official signed off on Tuesday.
The agreement will give electricity workers a 30 percent salary hike to be implemented over a 18 months. The union’s leader, Oscar Lescano, admitted that they gave into the government by letting them realize the increases in a longer time period.
“We had asked for 6 months, but the government asked for more time,” said Lescano. He said that this was not a good sign and that they would need to continue with negotiations in the future in order to have greater increases. Tomada, on the other hand, stated that the hike offer of 31.6 percent in 18 months had been “well received” by the power workers union and highlighted that there were other issues being discussed in these accords.
Lescano remarked that the salary adjustment agreement would probably serve as an example to other unions, although he underlined that none of them would be signed with unions affiliated with the dissident CGT umbrella union group led by teamster Hugo Moyano.
The Labour Minister acted as an arbitrator between the management and power workers union leaders last Tuesday when determining how much to increase in each of the three periods.
In January 2013, the workers will receive an increase of 18 percent, in June a 5 percent increase and in January 2013 a 7 percent increase. Lescano stated that the next salary adjustment negotations will be held in June 2014.
“The government is attempting to lower inflation by intervening in all those variables that are causing inflation. They want to lower the salary hikes, while we want to gain the purchasing power we lost last year,” said the union leader.
Tomada highlighted that the salary accord reached with the power workers union was the first wage increase agreement made this year, and that similar 18-month agreements are beginning to be negotiated with other unions he said to Radio del Plata.
“This time period will most likely be the standard for all the other negotations,” the Labour Minister said. Tomada was surprised that the negotiations had been resolved since the union had been pushing for a 3 to 6 month time period. This made the minister optimistic, remarking “this demonstrates that when we work together, we can accomplish things,” and emphasized the government’s active role in bringing the different sectors together to resolve the conflict between the businesses and unions.
According to Lescano, the agreement, though, did not address the minimum income tax issue and that there was a bill in congress to let public service workers who work extra hours to not have their income taxed.
In regard to whether businesses could support the increase, Lescano said they were discussing with the Ministries of Planning, Economy and Labour to see if they could use funds from a trust to pay for adjustment.
The increase will benefit the employees of Edenor, Edesure, Edelap, Transener, Transba, Endesa Costanera, Central Dock Sud and Central Puerto.
— Herald with DyN