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Moyano, Barrionuevo angry at low turnout

Anti-government CGT union leader Luis Barrionuevo speaks alongside teamsters’ leader Hugo Moyano yesterday in Mar del Plata.

Much-awaited summit of union leaders fails to earn support from Peronist leaders

Luis Barrionuevo, the leader of the “Blue and White” anti-government CGT umbrella union, slammed the potential Peronist candidates who did not show up to the much-hyped Mar del Plata summit that he held yesterday with longtime foe turned ally Hugo Moyano.

The absence of the high-profile political figures severely lowered the profile of a meeting that had been touted as the beginning of a new period of unity for the CGT. Barrionuevo did not hide his anger.

“If they don’t have the balls to show up, it’s best that they did not come,” the restaurant workers’ union leader complained.

Neither Buenos Aires province Governor Daniel Scioli, Córdoba provincial leader José Manuel De la Sota nor Renewal Front chief Sergio Massa appeared at the asado headed by the CGT leaders.

He was flanked by Moyano, leader of the teamsters’ union, who chose to talk about the potential re-unification of the two umbrella unions.

“It’s the beginning of a new stage for the workers’ movement,” Moyano said. “The goal is to be united.”

In the end, he could not avoid taking about the empty seats.

“They might have not shown up because of the photo,” the CGT leader said, referring to the widely held speculation that political leaders would presumably rather avoid being seen alongside highly controversial union leaders.

“When these leaders take a picture with (vice-president Amado) Boudou, with (Interior and Planning Minister) Julio de Vido, with (former Transport Secretary Ricardo) Jaime, don’t they feel anything at all?” he asked ironically. “Now those are difficult pictures.”

Low turnout

Although expectations for this meeting were high, no big announcements were made. Most of the remarks during the news conference that took place after the meal took aim at the absence of Peronist leaders.

“If they want to be president, from our part, we wish to hear their proposals regarding industrial levels, inflation rates, external debt and the Central Bank,” Barrionuevo said.

Their breakup with Scioli, Massa and De la Sota came after the union leaders invited the Peronist governors and the Renewal Front head to make a show of strength during the Mar del Plata summit.

Last week, Barrionuevo was photographed alongside Massa and Scioli during the inauguration of the Hotel Sasso Casino in Mar del Plata, which belongs to the restaurants’ workers union.

A harsh document

During the conclave, Moyano and Barrionuevo signed a document in which they accused the Cristina Fernández de Kirchner administration of being “incapable of finding a solution” to the country’s problems.

The CGT leaders also called for an “urgent discussion” over wage negotiations and demanded the abolishment of income tax.

The meeting was held in the context of growing salary demands that aim at neutralizing the effects of inflation while, at the same time, seeking “unity” of the labour movement.

The national government has not responded officially to those demands, although national lawmaker Edgardo Depetri, a Kirchnerite ally, said the meeting was “more of the same” and accused the union leaders of being part of “not precisely the best side of unions.”

“The Barrionuevo-Moyano summit is not going to improve public debate. They are just trying to get back onto the political stage and into the Justicialist Party,” Depetri concluded.

Herald staff with DyN, Télam

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